A 71 YEAR old Skipton woman who admitting hitting one of her neighbours with a shopping bag and calling another a ‘trollop’ has been given a community sentence and a five year restraining order by magistrates.

Jaqueline Nash of St John’s Court, followed a course of ‘intimidating and aggressive’ behaviour over several weeks last year which left two of her neighbours anxious and worried about leaving their homes when she was outside, heard Skipton Magistrates Court on Friday.

One, in a victim statement said she was frightened to sit outside in her garden and that it was difficult to describe the impact the woman’s behaviour had had on her and her family’s life, while the other said he found her intimidating.

The court was told that on June 22, one neighbour and his partner were in their garden in Moorland Avenue when Nash came up to them and was aggressive and abusive. Nash swung her shopping bag at the man, hitting his arm, was abusive some more, and swung her bag for a second time, but missed, before leaving and going back to her own home.

The other complainant, stated that she had lived next door to Nash for five years, that all had gone well for the first year, but that over the last 18 months she had felt unhappy and scared about her neighbour.

She described how Nash made verbally abusive judgments on her and her family, stating that she was a ‘trollop’ that she had ‘messed with the wrong person’ and that it had had a detrimental impact on her well-being.

“Her behaviour has changed the way I live my life. I am frightened to sit outside; its difficult to describe the impact she has had on my life,” stated the woman.

Mitigating for Nash, Keith Blackwell, said his client had fired ‘verbal grapeshot’ at her neighbours and that he hoped there would now be restraint and consolidation so that the neighbourhood could get back to normal. He added Nash had suffered a head injury four years ago which may have effected her behaviour, but that she wanted to have a quiet life with her 79 year old husband with as little stress as possible.

"She has a 79 year old husband and one hopes that everything will calm down now and everyone can get on with their lives," said Mr Blackwell.

Nash, who had pleaded guilty to harassment without violence, between May 24 and July 29 last year, and assault by beating on June 22 at an earlier hearing, before Christmas, was sentenced to an 18 month community order with up to 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and fined £80. She was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £90.

Magistrates further imposed a five year restraining order barring Nash from approaching either of the two complainants, directly, or indirectly, and was warned that any breach of the order could result in her being brought back to court and facing a possible prison sentence.