‘Neighbour from hell made our lives a misery’

'Neighbour from Hell' Kirstie Washington
'Neighbour from Hell' Kirstie Washington

A nightmare neighbour has been banned from contacting an elderly couple she harassed for 14 years because she didn’t like the colour of their bungalow.

Kirsty Robertson, 46, warned “I won’t stop until you’re dead” as she made the lives of retired Mavis and Alan Ward a constant misery.

A court heard they were forced to turn their £150,000 bungalow into a “virtual fortress” and carry panic alarms in fear of what she might do next.

Shocking CCTV footage showed Robertson climbing over their shared fence, pulling plant pots from their wall and throwing them on the floor.

She then looked into the windows of Mr and Mrs Ward’s bungalow in Leaway Close, Thornton, shouting and pointing her finger.

The film also showed an angry Robertson trying to snap the aerial off her neighbour’s car and kicking their door.

After eight attempts, Mr and Mrs Ward successfully proved their case against Robertson and watched from the public gallery as she was sentenced by magistrates in Blackpool.

They imposed a four-year restraining order which bans her from contacting the couple directly or indirectly by written means, phone, fax, text message, Facebook, Twitter or any social media.

Magistrates also ordered her not to go into any part of the area surrounding the property next door.

Prosecutor Rachel Parker said: “The couple have had a number of issues with the defendant over the last 14 years.

“They have lived in their house for 27 years and the defendant has lived next door since 2001.

“This harassment is believed to stem from an outside wall which faces towards the defendant’s property was painted in a different colour to the rest of the complainant’s property.”

The court heard how Robertson’s actions included painting the couple’s home – because she didn’t like the beige colour of the pebble-dash finish.

In a statement read out to the court, Mrs Ward, 66, said: “In April this year I was mowing the lawn and she saw me, stopped and ran her hand across her throat with a cutting action and said she would not stop until I was dead.

“She has been hell-bent on destroying us with her harassment and intimidation – using words I cannot repeat.

“It occurs on a very regular basis and it causes both me and my husband a great deal of alarm and distress.”

Miss Parker described events between last November and April during which the Wards had suffered verbal abuse, threats and objects thrown at their £150,000 home.

She said on one occasion her son had put a tree, which had blown down in gales, back into Robertson’s garden where it had been growing.

Robertson, who relies on disability living allowance, confronted Mrs Ward who told the court: “She told us to leave her property alone and that she knew everything about us because she was watching what we did on the internet.”

She said on two occasions she believed Robertson had thrown slates at the bungalow and another in which she said Robertson had taken pictures of the Wards’ grand-daughter.

In a statement from Mr Ward, 67, the court heard: “One of the worst incidents was when she started to take pictures of our granddaughter.

“When she was asked to stop she used the foulest of language - terrible and disgusting words in front of a child.

“It has been awful for my wife. I don’t know what really started it. I suppose it was the painting of the rendering. She didn’t like the colour.”

The retired tea shop owner added: “We have worked all our lives. All we want is a bit of peace.”

Mrs Ward said she and her husband feared going in their back garden or even leaving the property, for fear of being followed and harassed.

“I do everything in my control to avoid my neighbour but living next door can make this impossible,” she said in a statement.”

Defending Robertson, Sue Mugford said she was being treated for mental health issues.

She said: “The medication is helping her mood stability and improving her health.”

Robertson was also made the subject of a two-year conditional order and two-year supervision order.

She was also ordered to pay £410 in costs.

After the hearing Mrs Ward said: ”I just hope this is all over. We have come to court nine times this has caused much stress it has been harrowing.

“We have lived there 27 years and since she arrived we are too scared to go out and do the gardening which we had looked forwards to on retirement.

“We have spent over £1,000 on security cameras.”

“And we carry police issued panic alarms all the time.

“We try and live normal lives but there are times when we dare not enter our own garden.”