Neighbour from hell jailed

A NEIGHBOUR from hell was jailed today after subjecting villagers to a torrent of threats and abuse over the course of almost two years.Michael Cornwell, 51, has continually plagued residents who live close to his dilapidated property in Monks Eleigh, near Hadleigh.

A NEIGHBOUR from hell is in jail today after subjecting villagers to a torrent of threats and abuse over the course of almost two years.

Michael Cornwell, 51, has continually plagued residents who live close to his dilapidated property in Monks Eleigh, near Hadleigh.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, despite claiming he was mentally unstable and "genetically melancholic", Cornwell was sentenced to 18 months in prison after breaching conditions imposed on him at an earlier hearing.

Following his sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court one of his neighbours, who declined to be named, was unsympathetic over Cornwell's loss of liberty and said: "It is nothing compared to the sentence he put us through."


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Earlier Judge Peter Thompson had told Cornwell: "All I can do is protect your neighbours from you for as long as I reasonably can."

Cornwell's catalogue of dates back to November 2002 when he was given a 14-day sentence, suspended for two years, for using abusive and threatening words and behaviour towards his neighbours.

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He also appeared in court again in May 2003 for an offence of damaging property and was given a conditional discharge. Judge Thompson said no further action would be taken on these matters.

In February this year Cornwell admitted five counts of breaching a restraining order imposed on him in April 2003, when he was found guilty of harassment.

At the time Judge Thompson imposed a deferred sentence.

Cornwell was told he must stay out of trouble for six months and make efforts to repair and let or sell his cottage in Back Lane and move away from the area.

At today's sentencing, it emerged Cornwell had made no attempt to repair the cottage and had breached his restraining order again on June 23 by leaving his car blocking Back Lane.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said: "The property has not been let or sold since the last hearing. Pictures show that it is thoroughly overgrown, little effort has been put into making the house letable."

Richard Balchin, mitigating, said Cornwell claimed to have been unable to do anything with the property because the drugs he was taking for mental health problems had put him in a "catatonic state" for two months.

Mr Balchin said he was unable to produce medical evidence to support these claims. Doctors' reports found that Cornwell does not have any diagnosable mental health illnesses but may be suffering from a personality disorder.

Cornwell also claims to have several degrees and be a qualified surgeon.

Sentencing him, Judge Thompson said: "I wanted to give you a chance to remove yourself from the property which meant you needed time to put it in a condition where it could be sold or rented to someone else.

"I have now seen photos of the current state of the property and I can see that it is a complete tip and you have done nothing to make it saleable or letable.

"I am quite satisfied that you are not mentally ill. I am also quite satisfied that you are determined to stay in the property no matter what anyone else says."

Have you been the victim of a neighbour from hell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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