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Neighbour attacked after water butt row
9:00am Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
A 40-year-old Skipton man has been ordered to pay more than £1,200 in fines and costs following a dispute with his neighbour over a water butt.
Andrew Busfield grabbed his neighbour Colin Mitchell through a window and repeatedly banged it down on his arms, Skipton magistrates heard on Monday.
Pensioner, Mr Mitchell, suffered bruising and grazing to both arms, and the hinges and glass of the window had to be replaced.
Busfield had asked Mr Mitchell to sort out the water butt at the back of his property in Broughton Mews, Skipton, because it was overflowing and he was concerned it would damage his foundations, the court heard.
He knocked on Mr Mitchell’s front door at around 5pm on July 2, been told it ‘was only water and he’d fix it’, but then proceeded to go around the back and see what he could do.
He grabbed Mr Mitchell, who had opened a rear window to tell him to leave his property, and attempted to pull him through it.
Busfield, who denied criminal damage and also assault by beating, claimed he had acted in self-defence and that he had remained calm and unspeaking the whole time, while Mr Mitchell had been aggressive and swearing.
Defending himself, he also made references to past issues with his neighbour and that he was not worth getting ‘revved up’ about.
But Mr Mitchell told the court that Busfield had been furious, that his neck had been bulging and that he had been red-faced.
Busfield had been on his knees trying to pull him through the window, which could not open fully, and had then attempted to break his arms, telling him ‘this is how you pulverise people’.
There was also a glass Galileo thermometer on the window sill that Mr Mitchell took hold of because he was concerned it would smash into his chest, and was later found by police on Busfield’s coffee table.
When later interviewed by police, Busfield said he had taken the ornament after Mr Mitchell had threatened to ‘bray’ him with it.
Magistrates, who found Busfield, a man of previous good character, guilty on both counts, said there was clearly a history of disagreement between the men but that they had confined themselves to the incident in July.
They believed there had been provocation on both sides and that Mr Mitchell had been consistent in his evidence. Busfield, who they felt had underplayed the incident, had clearly used the window to injure his neighbour. They found no evidence of self-defence and added that Busfield could have walked away.
Busfield was fined £100 for criminal damage and £200 for assault by beating and was ordered to pay costs of £620 and victims surcharge of £30.
He was ordered to pay Mr Mitchell £200 for his injuries and £143 to pay for the window to be repaired. In addition, they bound him over in the sum of £200 to keep the peace for a year.