Neighbour from hell threatened to dig gran’s grave during campaign of harassment

James Ward, 46, pleaded guilty to harassment, putting a person in fear and also admitted an unrelated charge of assaulting an emergency worker on New Year’s Eve

James Ward harassed his neighbour and assaulted a police officer

A neighbour from hell threatened to dig up a gran’s grave during a campaign of harassment, a court heard.

The woman, who has been living in her home in Gateshead for 30 years, was left terrified by James Ward’s threats.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the widow had difficulties with Ward in the past due to his drunken behaviour but matters escalated in the summer, Chronicle Live reports.

On June 10, she found Ward in her garden and he complained saying her conifers were damaging the fence between their properties.

Kevin Wardlaw, prosecuting, told the court: “It was pointed out it was her fence.

“He then said he would ‘dig your grave’ and ‘I will put a bag over your head and bring your sons down’.”

The court heard that five days later, the woman heard Ward scraping a spade across the concrete outside.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman was left petrified by Ward’s behaviour


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Mr Wardlaw said: “The obvious inference being he was reinforcing the threat he made a few days earlier to dig her grave.”

The gran said in a victim impact statement that Ward’s behaviour made her life “a living hell” and made her feel “vulnerable and frightened”.

She said: “I’m totally petrified of him. His behaviour is making my life a living hell.

“I feel insecure in a house I’ve loved for 30 years. Memories are being tarnished by him. I daren’t have my granddaughters over to stay, they would be petrified.

“I want to sell my house but have no chance due to having Ward as my neighbour.

“I feel unsafe, vulnerable and frightened in my own home. This should not happen.”

Ward, 46, pleaded guilty to harassment, putting a person in fear and also admitted an unrelated charge of assaulting an emergency worker on New Year’s Eve.

He was arrested when police found him with an injury to his mouth and when he was shouting, blood was spraying from the wound onto an officer.

He was escorted out with his hood pulled down to stop the blood spattering, he backwards headbutted one of the officers in the face.

Ward, who has 18 previous convictions and has been in custody on remand for 112 days, was sentenced to a total of 27 weeks suspended for 18 months with an alcohol treatment requirement and a 12-month restraining order.

Nick Lane, defending, said he intends to go to live with a friend and will only return to his home to make arrangements to sell it.

Mr Lane added: “He has suffered with serious mental health difficulties which are linked in large part to his alcohol dependency syndrome.

“He is embarrassed and ashamed by his behaviour and in the assaulting emergency worker matter he has no recollection due to him being highly intoxicated in the early hours of January 1.

“He said his view was his neighbour was shouting through the walls and telling him to do things. In all likelihood that’s a result of his alcohol dependency syndrome and the voice hearing he has suffered.

“He very much regrets his behaviour.”

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