Noisy builders prompt St Albans woman, 83, to smash neighbours’ front window

PUBLISHED: 18:55 21 December 2012

A new gavel

A new gavel

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RED mist descended over a St Albans pensioner who hurled a large stone through her neighbour’s front window after putting up with their noisy building work for the past year, a court heard on Thursday.

Barbara Pope, 83, caused £200 worth of damage to her neighbour’s property when she went round to their house exasperated by the racket on September 17.

Mrs Pope, who lives off Victoria Street, claimed after speaking to a workman who answered the door she was “unable to contain her anger” and this was when she reached for the stone.

The 83-year-old was fined for the smashed window and handed a 12-month conditional discharge when she appeared at St Albans Magistrates’ Court last week.

In a statement from Mrs Pope, which was read out during the hearing, she said: “The building work had been ongoing at the neighbour’s house for a year. The noise had become an intrusion to my life at times.

“On the day in question my nerves were on edge.”

She claimed that when she visited the house the builder told her she should go out to avoid the noise of the construction work as she had “nothing to do all day”.

She added: “I was not able to contain my anger and picked up a large pebble and threw it.”

Prosecutor Mark Fleckney told the court before the incident Mrs Pope had an unblemished criminal record, and when questioned by the police she had accepted responsibility for her behaviour.

A judge originally dismissed the case but Mr Fleckney explained she had been brought back at the request of the prosecution.

He said: “The decision why we are still deciding to charge is because what she said in the interview and what she said to the injured party’s mother that she would be ‘more damaged’.”

When sentencing Mrs Pope the magistrate advised her not to repeat her actions, in particular making future threatening comments.

As well as the £200 in compensation, she was ordered to pay £85 in court costs.

Speaking to the Herts Advertiser after the trial, Mrs Pope explained her actions were “instantaneous” and she did not intend to damage her neighbour’s house.

She said: “I would never think of damaging someone’s property particularly by throwing a stone.

“I was quite shocked, I went straight to the police station to tell them what I had done.

“I don’t usually go around doing that kind of thing it is out of my character.”

Talking about coming before the courts for the first time in her life the pensioner added: “It has been awful, it is so overblown it seems to me but that is what the law is all about. It is a pity we could not have settled out of court.”

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