Ex-Army man ends up in court after garden wall dispute with Sunderland neighbour

An ex-Army man found himself in court after a long-running garden wall dispute with his neighbour.

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 6:00 am

Nigel Fullard, 58, pushed a plank of wood off the top of the 6ft brick barrier that separates their homes in Frederick Gardens, Penshaw, as his 69-year-old neighbour stood beneath.

His actions on Saturday, September 12 last year, were the culmination of years of growing tension between the pair, a court heard.

It allegedly stemmed from his neighbour’s construction of a wall where once only a lowly wicker fence stood and bushes grew.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Fullard’s actions required the older man to seek hospital treatment for a head wound and left him facing an assault by beating charge.

Four days earlier, he had allegedly pushed other wood from the wall, prosecutor Clare Irving told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

She added: “That was the catalyst for September 12. At about 9.20am, the man was in his driveway with his wife, they had just come in from shopping.

“He decided to do some construction work to the wall. He has placed a plank of wood on the top.

“At 9.40am, the defendant has approached and pushed the plank of wood from the wall, and it hit him, it landed on his head.”

The court heard the incident had left his victim in fear of Fullard, and his wife now felt anxious and vulnerable.

In a police interview, Fullard, who had an unblemished 11-year Army record and no previous criminal convictions, admitted responsibility but claimed he did not know his victim was below.

Charlie Weidner, defending, said his client pleaded guilty on the basis he had acted recklessly and did not intend harm.

He said Fullard’s victim had pulled up the wicker fence, removed the bushes and built the wall without consulting Fullard.

Mr Weidner added: “There’s been no reference, no contact with Mr Fullard. There have been disagreements between them over the years.

“The wall was initially about 1m high, but he has been building it incrementally, it’s now over 6ft high.

“On September 8, the man was faffing about along the wall, and going up and down all along.

“There are words. He also does it on the 9th, 10th and the 11th, and then you have the 12th. There is considerable provocation before September 12.

“On September 12, I would put it that he got to the end of his tether, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“He accepts that he had pushed the wood away, but he wasn’t aware at that moment that the man was there.

“The build-up over the years, it’s caused him so much stress that he is now trying to persuade his wife to move from the area.”

Magistrates said they found Fullard’s actions to have been reckless and there had been provocation.

They fined Fullard, who has also worked as a self-employed builder, £182 and ordered him to pay his victim £100 compensation.

He must also pay £250 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.