The Daily Telegraph
Judge mocks ‘handbags in the cul-de-sac’
A JUDGE accused warring neighbours of having “handbags in the cul de sac” after an 81-year-old man attacked his next-door neighbour with a rounders bat.
Peter Lane and Garry Prince came to blows outside their bungalows in a scuffle that was the culmination of a nine-year boundary dispute over a concrete pillar, a court heard.
The row happened after a joint restraining order requiring both men to keep the peace expired. The order was issued following a legal row over who owned a 4ft pillar that stands between their driveways in Poole.
A court heard Mr Lane was provoked by Mr Prince, 57, who made an insulting remark about Mr Lane’s wife. Mr Prince challenged the pensioner to “sort things out there and then”, prompting him to get the rounders bat from the boot of his car.
He hit Mr Prince on the back of the legs with it and then across the forearm, causing the bat to break, the court was told.
Mr Prince was said to have been unhurt in the exchange and could be heard laughing in CCTV footage taken from a neighbouring home. Judge Jonathan Fuller QC said both men had acted like a “couple of immature teenagers” and urged them to come to their senses.
He handed Mr Lane a conditional discharge after he pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and assault.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard the Lanes had lived in Poole, Dorset, for more than 40 years. After Mr Prince moved in next door in 2007, he claimed the pillar between their properties was on his land and he wanted it removed to make it easier to park his car.
The dispute ended up going to civil court with a judge ruling the pillar was on the Lanes’ land. Mr Prince was ordered to replace the posts he had removed and pay £6,500 in damages.
The fracas happened on May 3 last year. Mr Prince was also in court to hear Judge Fuller lambast both men for their “disgraceful” behaviour.
He told Mr Lane: “You lost it in response to Mr Prince’s offer to ‘sort things out there and then’. You took the bait. There are handbags in the cul-de-sac which spill out onto the street.”
Mr Lane was ordered to pay court costs of £250.