'Hate campaign' neighbour avoids jail

A PENSIONER who instigated a ten-year campaign of hate against her next-door neighbours has today avoided a jail term – to the dismay of her victims.Jennifer Goodchild, of Aldis Avenue, Stowmarket was instead ordered to carry out a 12-month community rehabilitation order after breaching her restraining order eight times.

A PENSIONER who instigated a ten-year campaign of hate against her next-door neighbours has today avoided a jail term - to the dismay of her victims.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, Jennifer Goodchild, of Aldis Avenue, Stowmarket was instead ordered to carry out a 12-month community rehabilitation order after breaching her restraining order eight times.

But Mandy and Stephen Starling, who have been subjected to a torrent of abuse and provocation from the 67-year-old, said they are disappointed at the sentence.

Goodchild's antics included blocking the shared driveway between the semi-detached houses, pouring urine on her neighbours' plants and verbally insulting Mrs Starling.

Mr Starling said: "All we want is for her to stop harassing us. If this works, then good. But it seems like she's got the green light to carry on without anymore punishment.

"We feel let down in a way. We don't necessarily want to see her in jail, but if people continue not to respect authority there has to become a point where enough is enough.

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"We just think she'll carry on with her behaviour after this."

Ipswich Crown Court was told yesterday Goodchild had not breached the order since being found guilty of the charge in July.

Mitigating, Ian James said Goodchild's health has been "adversely affected" by the situation.

He said: "It's undoubted that whatever the rights and wrongs of this matter, this defendant is suffering as a consequence of these matters.

"She tells me she has lived at this address since 1958 and it's only since the present neighbours have been there that there's been any difficulty.

"It seems she's going to have to resolve her differences in some way other than breaking the order that has been made."

Judge Nicholas Beddard said: "I know there have been niggles but on the whole things seem to have stabilised.

"I'm not going to impose a custodial sentence. I want the probation service to continue to be involved with you because I'm a bit worried about you myself. I'd like to think there's someone keeping an eye on you from your point of view and from the public's.

"The important thing is you keep out of trouble and you co-operate with the probation service."

Despite a prosecution plea for more £1,000 in costs, judge Beddard ordered Goodchild pay £75 after being told of her financial situation.

He said: "There's no reason the tax payer should pay all of the bill but you've got limited means and I don't want to make your life impossible."

Mr and Mrs Starling today reaffirmed their stance that they will not be driven out of their street, where they have a number of friends, by Goodchild's antics.

Goodchild refused to comment after the hearing.

What do you think of Goodchild's sentence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk