A 75-year-old ‘nightmare neighbour’ has been ordered to wear an electronic tag for a campaign of hate against a couple - including trying to kill their cat.
Pensioner Barbera Minns has been placed under curfew after repeatedly breaching a restraining order to stay away from Adele Richards and Gary Authers.
A court heard she had subjected the couple to a prolonged and violent campaign of harassment lasting several years.
Incidences included being threatened with a knife, having poo thrown at them and an attempt to poison their cat.
Attacks were so frequent and terrifying the couple even kept a harassment diary to present to police.
Cameras were installed to record her behaviour and she was eventually convicted in 2018 and given a 36-week suspended prison sentence.
During that hearing, she was also made subject of a restraining order preventing her from contacting the couple or entering their property.
What was said in court?
But Minns was hauled back before West Cornwall Magistrates Court this week to be sentenced for continuing her reign of terror in the latest breach of the restraining order that included an assault of Mr Authers by beating on 22 May last year.
Prosecutor Chris Rendall said the couple were in their house in Falmouth, Cornwall, at around 2pm when they heard screaming and shouting from the back garden.
They discovered Minns shouting ‘I’ve had enough of this I might as well end it all’ and then said ‘They’re bullies, they’re f**ing bullies, they know I am here on my own’.”
Mr Rendall said she then swore calling them the C-word. The couple called an ambulance and after it had left she seemed to have calmed down.
He added: “They left their address at 5pm and as they left Minns was standing in the front porch talking to a maintenance man. She then came up to them ranting and raving telling them to ‘F’ off’.
“Miss Richards said she shouldn’t be speaking to them because of the restraining order.
“That led to a continuance of the abuse; she then prodded her hand out at his [Mr Authers’] right hand he had raised in a defensive manner and struck him in the chest with her hand.”
Mr Rendall said Minns was also sentenced in January last year to three further breaches of the restraining order, but the suspended sentence was not activated and a community order was imposed until July this year.
How have the couple been impacted?
Over the years Adele and Gary have collected photographic evidence of vandalism and other intimidating behaviour, including when Minns attempted to poison their cats while they were away.
And in a victim personal statement read out in court, Adele said the cost to their lives was immeasurable.
She said: “We feel extremely frustrated and anxious, we are constantly on edge because Minns is unpredictable.
‘’We live in fear as to what Minns may do next and what she has proved to be capable of because of previous incidents.
“A restraining order was obtained and we thought this would stop Minns unacceptable behaviour but, five years on, we are still getting verbally and physically attacked.
“Minns’ behaviour has not improved despite her numerous court appearances at which she has pleaded guilty to.
“Since these incidents neither our friends or family feel comfortable visiting our home and they fear what Minns’ will do to us next.
“We have spent a large amount of money safeguarding our home yet still feel very little security personally. Minns has cost us emotional, physical and financial expense. Her intrusive and unwanted behaviour the cost to us is immeasurable.”
In the statement, Adele said she wasn’t sure how much more they could take.
She added: “We just want this five year nightmare to stop, it is intrusive, frightening and has a direct impact and unyielding effect upon our mental health.
“We don’t know what she could do next and we are always aware of her presence. We are nearly at the end of our tether, we just want this behaviour from Minns to stop.”
Minns of Falmouth, appeared at West Cornwall Magistrates court for sentencing on Monday, which had been delayed for a psychiatric report.
For the offence of assault by beating of Mr Authers, and breaching the restraining order Minns was made the subject of a community order with a 5pm to 9am curfew.
She was ordered to wear an electronic tag for monitoring for four months starting on 14 February and ending on 13 June. The curfew states Minns has to remain indoors at an address in Daveys Close, Falmouth daily between 5pm and 9am.
A further restraining order was also made during sentencing and Minns must also pay a £95 victim surcharge and costs of £59.
How did things start?
Speaking previously, Adele said: “We don’t feel safe in our own home and I can’t move because we have to let the estate agent know about the problems and, as a result, the house wouldn’t sell.”
The couple said they moved there in 1993 and said they initially got on well with Minns but the relationship quickly deteriorated.
She added: “We’ve done nothing wrong. We haven’t retaliated and haven’t been able to let the cats outside in case they get poisoned.
“We were on holiday when we had the call from a neighbour about the rat poison. If the cats or his dog ate it they would have died. As soon as we had the call that was the end of the holiday, we wanted to go home.
“I just want it to be the end of it now and to have a peaceful life knowing us and our pets are safe.”
She has also launched dog poo into Adele and Gary’s garden and chucked stones at their vehicles.
Gary added: “We haven’t done anything wrong and just want everyone to know that now she has the conviction to prove she’s been behaving in that way.”
Speaking previously, Minns denied she had done anything wrong and added: “It is the biggest load of rubbish. I’ve been bullied. Anybody who knows me knows I’m nothing like that.
“I’m normally very gentle, kind and I’ve been totally obliterated.”
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