Neighbours dispute rears ugly head again
OLD wounds have been reopened in a bitter neighbourly dispute that once brought anarchy to a quiet Suffolk cul-de-sac.Nearly two years ago five couples, of Lower Harlings, Shotley Gate, went to court to agree to keep the peace after what developed into an increasingly bitter feud.
OLD wounds have today been reopened in a bitter neighbourly dispute that once brought anarchy to a quiet Suffolk cul-de-sac.
Nearly two years ago five couples, of Lower Harlings, Shotley Gate, went to court to agree to keep the peace after what developed into an increasingly bitter feud.
Now the rival factions have surfaced again and landed a 50-year-old man before magistrates.
Stephen Mucha pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress to his next-door neighbour, John Bell on the evening of June 12 after he shouted abuse at him, calling him names including a “wassock” and “an old fart.”
Mr Bell called the police and Mucha admitted the offence in interview.
The latest incident comes in the wake of a chequered past for neighbours living on the estate, which saw insults traded and various mysterious items posted between the warring families, including Viagra and lingerie.
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The court heard on Friday that Mucha's recent outburst took place as he and his wife, Sharon, were walking towards their home after enjoying a meal at a friend's house. Here he encountered his old foe Mr Bell, who was standing on his doorstep.
Mucha told magistrates his tirade was in response to days of taunting from his neighbour.
He said: “This particular weekend was a very difficult one.
”Although Mr Bell would probably disagree, he was gesturing to me not in a very nice way over the weekend.
“He also called my wife a tart, which was caught on cctv but the police decided not to pursue it.
”We'd been for a meal with some friends and were coming back. Yes, I am guilty of what has been said. But I was being provoked all weekend and I'd just had enough.
”I believe a lot of people would have gone round and knocked on his door after what he did but I chose not to.”
Mucha was handed a 12-month conditional discharge for the offence and warned to stay out of trouble by magistrates. He was told a bind over put in place in February 2004 would remain in place.
Speaking after the case Mr Bell said he now wanted to draw a line under the incident.
He said: “Today, speaking after Mucha's conviction, he said: “I'm sick to death with it but I'm not going to let anyone drive me out of my home.
”It's difficult to get on with your life with all this going on. I was amazed when he said those things to me. You don't do that sort of thing.”
Mr Bell said the same characters who were involved in the original conflict remain in the cul-de-sac.
He added: “It's a little bit quieter around here now but things are still bad. I just want things to be sorted and I'm thinking of taking my concerns to the Home Office.
“I don't think justice has been done.”
n. Do you think the neighbours should forgive and forget? Are you involved in a similar dispute? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FIVE families appeared before magistrates in Ipswich in February 2004 in a bid to heal their fractured relationships.
The dispute involved Andrew and Collette Tasker, Nicky Edgell, John Bell and Marie and Paul Squirrell, along with the Muchas.
It became clear two camps had emerged in the row, with the Squirrells and Muchas on one side and the other families on the other.
Tensions soared to the point where the Muchas arranged surprise deliveries to select neighbours.
Mr Tasker received Viagra, Mr Bell unwanted catalogues and clothes, while a car was advertised for sale alongside the Edgell's telephone number.
The Muchas were charged with harassment soon after. But on the eve of a trial the charges were dropped after the residents reached agreement to keep the peace for two years.
This agreement had remained intact until this latest incident.