Sunderland businessman attacked neighbour in row over fence

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A ROW between families erupted in violence when a respectable businessman assaulted his daughter’s neighbour.

Ian Graham denied attacking the woman, but was found guilty after a trial at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrates were told there had been friction between the neighbours dating back to August 2012, which flared up over a fence.

However, it culminated in the assault in October last year.

Prosecutor Keith Laidlaw said the 59-year-old burst into the victim’s house, in Hylton Castle, and grabbed her by the throat,

He added: “It was about 4pm and she was at home in the kitchen, when she heard a few loud bangs at the door.

“She opened the door and saw the defendant standing on the doorstep. Without any warning, he grabbed her by the throat and began to squeeze slightly.

“He began to scream at her, saying ‘You have ruined my daughter’s life.’

“He said, ‘You are going to get it.’”

The assault ended when another family member came downstairs.

The court was told Graham called the woman a “tramp” and said she was “dragged up”, before leaving the house.

She gave a statement afterwards saying: “I can’t believe this has happened.

“It has put me in fear for me and the family.

“I’m worried that he will come back.”

Gerry Armstrong, defending, said Graham ran his own business and had never been in trouble before.

“It is always a sad occasion when anybody appears before the court for the first time, even more when you are 59 and have lived an impeccable life,” he added.

The court was told Graham, of Riverside Park, Sunderland, had tried to involve other authorities, including Gentoo, to settle the dispute.

Mr Armstrong described the attack as a “moment of madness”, but said Graham still denied any physical assault took place.

The house is now up for sale and his daughter had moved out of the area.

The bench ruled he must carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and complete a 12-month community order.

Magistrates also ordered he pay his victim £50 and £450 in court costs.