Neighbours feud descends into armed violence

A LONG-running ‘tit-for-tat’ feud between neighbours ended with an explosion of violence as a van and home were smashed up with weapons.

A father, his son and his daughter’s boyfriend armed themselves with a baseball bat, a crow-bar and a rubber mallet, to attack the home of their victim after he had earlier smashed all the windows, lights, and mirrors of Derek Milner’s van.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 58-year-old had been in a running dispute with the husband of a neighbour, Kevin Taylor, and had been attacked by him in January this year.

The violence erupted over an argument about rubbish being dumped on the roof of a lock-up and a fight between Mr Taylor and Milner senior ensued.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said several hours later four men turned up at the house on Charlbury Road, Middlesbrough, who started smashing windows before attacking Mr Taylor with a number of weapons.

A crow bar was thrown through a broken window which hit Mr Taylor on his elbow while a rubber mallet, also thrown through a broken window, caused an injury to Alison Taylor’s leg.

Mr Baker said Kay told police it was a ‘tit-for-tat’ attack after he became enraged about the earlier fight involving his partner’s father.

Derek Milner, 58, of Teare Close, Middlesbrough, his 21-year-old son James, of Spencerfield Crescent, Middlesbrough, and Kay, 38, also of Spencerfield Crescent, all pleaded guilty to affray following the incident on January 24.

John Nixon, representing Derek Milner, said there was a long history of trouble between both parties ‘going back many years’ but the trouble flared over allegations of rubbish being dumped near their homes.

“The defendant was accused of being a nonce, a paedophile and a peeping-Tom, leaving him very distressed and anxious. That night an incident took place between him and Mr Taylor during which the defendant was assaulted,” he said.

Mr Nixon said the defendant returned home from hospital after suffering an injury and when he was on the phone to the police Mr Taylor emerged with a hammer and broke every ‘window, light and mirror’ of his van.

He suffered an emotional breakdown as a result and when his family learned of the incident that was when they turned up at Mr Taylor’s door.

Robert Mochrie, representing James Milner, said his client had no previous convictions and had worked hard since leaving school.

George Hazel-Owram, representing Kay, urged the judge to pass the same sentence for all three defendants after his client spent weeks on remand.

Recorder Tony Kelbrick sentenced them to an18-month community sentence and ordered them to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.

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The Northern Echo | Teesside