Neighbour from hell, 36, faces years in jail after hurling petrol bomb at couple next door’s home

James Banning (pictured above) had previously called Louise Diamond and threatened to beat her

James Banning (pictured above) had previously called Louise Diamond and threatened to beat her

James Banning (pictured above) had previously called Louise Diamond and threatened to beat her 

A neighbour from hell is facing years in jail after he hurled a petrol bomb at the couple next door’s property after they complained about how much noise he was making.

James Banning torched the home of Louise Diamond and David Roddis after harassing them for years at their property in Warwickshire.

Just months before the arson attack, Banning had called Ms Diamond, threatening to beat her so badly that she would be ‘a vegetable’.

The couple escaped the flames which damaged their home in the picturesque village of Stoneleigh, on September 30 last year, which also destroyed their BMW.

At a trial at Warwick Crown Court yesterday, Banning was found guilty of arson, being reckless, endangering life and harassment.

Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said that when Ms Diamond checked their CCTV system, which survived the blaze, ‘it chilled her to the bone.’

Jurors heard Banning held a grudge against the couple after discovering they had made a complaint about him making noise.

Months after lodging the complaint with Warwick District Council, Banning made a threatening call to Ms Diamond, telling her: ‘What sort of vegetable would you like to be, because you’re going to be a vegetable?

‘I’m going to hunt you down and kill you, you bitch.’

And in another, he told her: ‘I’m going to rip your face off.’

Mr Simpson highlighted that the case was all about the history between the next-door neighbours which ‘escalated and spiralled out of control’.

‘But which by good fortune did not have disastrous consequences.

‘In April last year Ms Diamond reported him to Warwick District Council for noise.

The home of Louise Diamond is on the right and attached to it on the left is that of James Banning. Ms Diamond and her partner had complained about the noise Banning had been making

The home of Louise Diamond is on the right and attached to it on the left is that of James Banning. Ms Diamond and her partner had complained about the noise Banning had been making

 The home of Louise Diamond is on the right and attached to it on the left is that of James Banning. Ms Diamond and her partner had complained about the noise Banning had been making 

‘He found out about it and commenced a campaign against her, but it really started on the 22nd of August when Louise received a number of threatening calls on her mobile phone.’

On September 3, after she had reported him to the police and he was on bail, Banning went past her house and shouted at her: ‘I’m going to kill you, bitch.’

She then became aware of graffiti on a nearby bridge reading ‘Louise Diamond is a grass’ and posters of her which had been put up around the village.

Mr Simpson added: ‘But the campaign took a far more sinister turn on the night of the 30th of September.’

It showed Banning approaching the house from the nearby village hall car park, carrying something that was dripping burning liquid onto the road.

At a trial at Warwick Crown Court yesterday, Banning was found guilty of arson (Warwickshire Justice Centre, pictured above)

At a trial at Warwick Crown Court yesterday, Banning was found guilty of arson (Warwickshire Justice Centre, pictured above)

At a trial at Warwick Crown Court yesterday, Banning was found guilty of arson (Warwickshire Justice Centre, pictured above)

In his other hand he had a hammer with which he tried to smash the windows of Mr Roddis’s car, without success.

Mr Simpson said: ‘He then, with some force, threw the burning object directly at the front of the house and then fled back to the car park and left in a car.

‘This is a man who embarked on a campaign of abuse, and has then acquired a firebomb and thrown it at someone’s home in the dead of night.

‘This is a firebomb attack on someone out of vindictiveness.’

Banning was caught after the couple recognised a distinctive scarf which he tried to hide his face with.

He also denied making the threatening calls but they were traced to a pay-as-you-go phone which he had topped up.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told Banning he was facing ‘a very significant custodial sentence indeed.’

 

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