Former teacher sentenced

A RETIRED Westbourne High teacher once dubbed "the neighbour from hell" has been ordered to do unpaid work in the community after punching a neighbour.

By Amanda Cresswell

A RETIRED Westbourne High teacher once dubbed "the neighbour from hell" has been ordered to do unpaid work in the community after punching a neighbour.

John Troupe, of Notcutts, East Bergholt, was sentenced to a 60-hour community punishment order for assault and breach of a restraining order.

However, Doreen Anthony, one of the neighbours who Troupe has had trouble with in the past, branded the decision not to invoke a stronger sentence as "a farce".

"What an absolutely stupid judgement," said Mrs Anthony. "What a farce. No wonder people like Tony Martin take the law into their own hands. I'm barricading my doors. This is a total farce.

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Sentencing Troupe for his latest crime, South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court bench chairwoman Diane Hunt, told him: "We do note that you don't feel much remorse and that saddens and worries us."

The court heard Troupe, who pleaded guilty, is considering moving house after the latest bust up which left neighbour Alistair Titchmarsh – an indirect relative – with "a cut above his eye" and broken spectacles.

Troupe, 58, was convicted of harassment in January last year and made subject to a restraining order against Titchmarsh, prosecutor Shini Cooksley, told magistrates in Ipswich.

But in July last year Titchmarsh was driving home when he spotted Troupe in the street taking photographs. The court heard Titchmarsh, 33, told him to "go away you sad little man," said Mrs Cooksley. But Troupe returned to take more snapshots.

The court heard Titchmarsh took the camera away saying he was "taking it for evidence" but Troupe retaliated by punching him. He tried a second and third time but missed and Titchmarsh pushed Troupe away, causing him to fall over.

In interview Troupe was shown a video-tape of the incident, which was recorded by another neighbour, but repeatedly told police he couldn't recall hitting Titchmarsh.

John Hughes, mitigating, said Troupe "is tired of being arrested" and has been arrested four times for breach of a restraining order, although none of those ended in a conviction.

Hughes said Troupe, who has lived on the cul-de-sac for 30 years has been going away at weekends and during the week and was "thinking of moving out of the area."

He said on one occasion Mrs Anthony made allegations that Troupe chased her and he ended up being sprayed in the face with an attack alarm.

"He feels in some way aggrieved," said Mr Hughes, who added Troupe feels he can't move in the close without it being recorded.

In addition to his community punishment order, Troupe was, ordered to pay £60 costs. After passing sentence Mrs Hunt warned: "Keep yourself out of trouble whatever the provocation.

"If you find yourself back here [in court] there is likely to be one outcome and that would be extremely sad for a man of your age."

Last year Doreen Anthony, who lives in the cul-de-sac, dubbed the former teacher a "neighbour from hell." Titchmarsh was the son-in-law of Troupe's ex-wife.

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