Couple sentenced in neighbours’ dispute

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A long-running feud between two neighbours resulted in a family being left scared to leave their home.

Jolene Self, from Rede Way in Great Cornard, threatened her next-door neighbour after her boyfriend, Cameron Letham, was arrested for attacking their 15-year-old son.

Stephen Colman, prosecuting, told Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Monday that there had been ongoing issues between the neighbours in the run-up to Letham assaulting Joshua Polley on March 25.

“At 3pm, there was an altercation in Rede Way when Letham approached Polley,” said Mr Colman. “Letham said, ‘I told you I was going to get you on your own’.”

Letham, 19, from Oxford Close in Great Cornard, grabbed the boy by the collar and pushed him to the ground. Polley had then ran to a neighbour’s house.

He added that an eye- witness had seen Letham, who was convicted of carrying out the assault at an earlier trial, push Joshua twice in the chest.

Mr Colman said that on April 30, Self had gone round to see Joshua’s mum, Yasmin Cooper.

“Mrs Cooper was at home at 7.30pm. When she opened the door and saw Self, she refused to let her in,” he said.

“Self asked her to come outside and said ‘if Cameron goes down for this, I will get you’.”

Self then called Mrs Cooper “scum”.

In a statement read out in court, Mrs Cooper said she and her family had felt intimidated.

“We don’t go out much now and have become reclusive,” she said.

“My son sleeps on the sofa as his bedroom is next to their property and he doesn’t feel safe and neither does my seven-year-old daughter.”

Mrs Cooper said the whole situation was “emotionally draining” and said the problem had started when Self moved in around three years ago.

In mitigation, Claire Lockwood said Self and Letham were extremely upset about what had happened and claimed they had been victims of the dispute on occasions.

She added that Letham and Self, who was found guilty of using threatening words and behaviour at trial, were planning to move away.

“They have applied to be rehoused and do not want to stay in the area,” said Mrs Lockwood. “They try not to have anything to do with their neighbours.”

She added that Self, who has a six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, admitted there were problems with the neighbours.

Susan Hough, chairman of the bench, sentenced Letham to an 18-month community order with supervision and Self to a 12-month conditional discharge. Both were ordered to pay £200 court costs.

Mrs Hough said: “No matter what the provocation was, this behaviour was unacceptable.”