Jury out in neighbour dispute case

A JURY was deliberating today in the case of an elderly woman accused of breaching a restraining order.Jennifer Goodchild, 67, of Aldis Avenue, Stowmarket, is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court accused of breaching the order on eight separate occasions in October and November last year by repeatedly placing a metal drum on a shared driveway.

A JURY was deliberating today in the case of an elderly woman accused of breaching a restraining order.

Jennifer Goodchild, 67, of Aldis Avenue, Stowmarket, is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court accused of breaching the order on eight separate occasions in October and November last year by repeatedly placing a metal drum on a shared driveway. Mrs Goodchild denies the charges.

During the trial the court heard the restraining order was imposed prohibiting Mrs Goodchild from blocking the driveway she shares with her next door neighbours, Mandy and Stephen Starling.

The order was imposed in October 2003 after she was convicted of harassment.


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The court heard Mrs Goodchild subjected her neighbours to ten years of harassment and abuse. Both neighbours installed CCTV cameras to record each other's movements outside their homes.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mrs Starling, 35, described living next door to Mrs Goodchild as "absolutely frightening".

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She said: "It can really get you down. We are patient people, we have had to be. I just want to be left alone and for our children to be left alone."

Prosecution lawyer Anthony Bate said self-employed electrician Mr Starling was unable to move his van for three days because Mrs Goodchild had blocked the drive with her mini car. He said Mr Starling was left with no alternative but to move the mini with a group of friends.

Mr Starling also claimed his neighbour had poured urine on plants.

Under cross examination, defence barrister Matthew McNiff asked Mr Starling if he had ever been violent towards his neighbour, who had claimed he had hit her across the nose.

Mr Starling insisted he had not hit her, saying she fell off her bicycle.

The court saw video footage which the prosecution claimed showed Mrs Goodchild placing the drum on the driveway.

Judge Nicholas Beddard, sitting as deputy circuit judge, summed up the case. He told the jury they had to decide whether Mrs Goodchild had a reasonable excuse for breaching the order.

The jury of seven women and five men was expected to return a verdict later today.

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