Kent Messenger Maidstone


Court ends pub dispute with neighbour

- by Ed McConnell @EdMcConnel­lKM

A landlady of a village pub has been cleared of assaulting her neighbour following a lengthy dispute.

Catherine Small, who runs the White Horse Inn in Otham, appeared at Maidstone Magistrate­s’ Court last Friday to stand trial accused of smashing a bottle over Peter Middleton’s head.

Her daughter, Catherine McCann, appeared alongside her after allegedly stealing Mr Middleton’s iPhone after he filmed the assault.

The court heard how on the evening of May 31 Miss McCann was getting ready for bed when she heard shouting from outside.

At first the 27-year-old thought her mother’s dog, which was being walked by a friend, had been hit by a car but when she approached the commotion she realised Mrs Small was arguing with Mr Middleton – who is known as John.

The mother of one, who was heavily pregnant at the time, said she tried to defuse the situation, adding while her mother had been drinking she was not drunk, which was disputed by the prosecutio­n.

She said Mr Middleton was racially abusive to her and pushed her to the floor before kicking her.

However 63-year-old Mr Middleton claimed Miss McCann approached him aggressive­ly and snatched his phone which he had been using to film Mrs Small’s abusive behaviour.

He said the 56-year-old publican then hit him from behind with a bottle of Budweiser.

The incident followed a long feud, with Miss McCann saying Mr Middleton did not like them running the White Horse Lane pub.

Representi­ng herself, Mrs Small said her family and Mr Middleton had issues and would be glad if they left the village.

She added this was his motive for making the accusation­s and there was no evidence other than his statement that she had attacked him.

Magistrate­s said they found it hard to believe Miss McCann, who gave birth two weeks after the incident, would have been able to steal Mr Middleton’s phone and could not prove beyond reasonable doubt either offence had been committed.

They found both defendants not guilty.

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 ??  ?? John Middleton, third from right, joins pub regulars in a campaign in 2010 to save The White Horse
John Middleton, third from right, joins pub regulars in a campaign in 2010 to save The White Horse

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