Judge criticises council after two jailed for life over killing
Neighbour dispute escalated after officials failed to act on complaints
A JUDGE has criticised a council for failing to protect two pensioners during a neighbour dispute that escalated into murder.
Former pub landlord Harry Hood and Ross Russell have been jailed for life with a minimum of 14 years each after they carried out a savage attack on Arthur Green at his home in Prestwick, Ayrshire, in November 2014.
Mr Green, 60, lived close to Hood’s parents and the couple had endured years of hassle at the hands of Mr Green and his family.
Hood flew into a rage when it emerged the elderly couple’s window had been smashed by one of Mr Green’s acquaintances, then went with Russell to Mr Green’s home and beat him to death in November 2014.
Hood’s 76-year-old father, also named Harry, told how Mr Green had been a “nightmare” to live beside, with “24/7” noise and that a dog barked at “all hours”.
He told the court: “I blame him (Green) because he was inviting the people there. He was just a neighbour from hell.”
The pensioner ended up keeping a log of their problems, with police and the council later being called in.
In a rare move the judge slated the local council – South Ayrshire – for failing to act and encouraging the pensioners to move.
Jailing Hood and Russell yesterday, judge Bill Dunlop, QC, said: “The reaction of the council which I heard was disturbing.
“That they should make themselves homeless and move to an area away from the place they loved living in and to leave their home was frankly disappointing, wholly inadequate and on one view, cruel.
“That failure to act on the part of the council was explained to the court as due to there being no corroboration.
“As a lawyer I can say that’s nonsense.
“I am driven to conclude the council went for the easy option – persuading the good guys to move would be simple and more straightforward than evicting those causing the trouble.”
Mr Green’s young grandson discovered his body the next day.
Hood, 46, and Russell, 35, boasted they had “got away with murder” after police initially believed Mr Green had fallen but they were later arrested.
In his evidence, Mr Hood senior said that he kept a log of the problems they endured at the hands of Mr Green before the council were called in.
Mr Hood and his wife were targeted again days before the killing when their window was put in.
He recalled a run-in he had with the boyfriend of Mr Green’s daughter.
He said the man threatened his wife before a slab was thrown through a window where he had been sitting earlier.
David Burns, South Ayrshire Council’s head of housing and facilities, said: “We were dealing with this case and progressing the matter through the different stages of our anti-social behaviour process.
“We will consider whether there is any learning we can take from this case, but no one could have predicted the actions that were taken by the two individuals.”
ARTHUR GREEN: Was attacked and killed in his home.