Couple on trial over dispute with next-door neighbours

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A couple involved in a historic dispute with their next-door neighbours have gone on trial accused of breaching a restraining order.

Desmond Hughes, 70, and Claire Anderson, 54, are accused of defying the order banning them from contacting Nick Hancock, his wife Linda and their daughter Talia, 22.

Newport Crown Court heard the alleged incidents took place last year in Began Road, Old St Mellons, Cardiff, where they live.

Sam Shepherd, prosecuting, said Hughes and Anderson were subjects of an indefinite restraining order imposed by Cardiff Magistrates’ Court in July 2013 after being convicted of harassing the Hancock family.

He explained the terms of the order banned the two defendants from contacting Mr and Mrs Hancock and their daughter directly or indirectly, and could only contact them via a solicitor.

They were also prohibited from conducting video surveillance of the Hancocks’ home or taking photographs of the family or their house.

“Put simply, the prosecution say that on five occasions the defendants – the first four counts Mr Hughes and the fifth Ms Anderson – have breached the restraining order in a number of different ways,” he said.

“This has been a historic dispute between these two pairs of neighbours who have not got on very well.”

On the first occasion in March last year, Hughes is accused of using a ladder to lean over a wall and look in to his neighbours’ back garden.

Mrs Hancock saw Hughes from her dining room and went outside to confront him, telling him: “Are you having a good nose? You are clearly breaching the restraining order and this will be taken further.”

The next day, Hughes is accused of “loitering” outside his neighbours’ home and when Mrs Hancock returned it is alleged he was trying to “intimidate” her as she pulled on to her driveway.

The following September, Hughes and Anderson are accused of shouting at Mr Hancock from their rear garden as he mowed his lawn, Mr Shepherd said.

An “aggressive and angry” Hughes is alleged to have shouted at Mr Hancock: “You can move that f****** trampoline,” while his partner added: “You can move that shed as well.”

Mr Shepherd said: “Mr Hancock took out his phone and took a picture of Claire Anderson with her middle finger up. She was wearing purple gardening gloves.”

The final charge relates to photographs recovered by police from a camera belonging to Hughes, which are said to be of Mr and Mrs Hancock’s front and rear gardens.

Hughes denies four charges of acting in breach of a restraining order while Anderson denies the single charge she faces.

The trial continues.

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