‘Neighbour from hell’ who erected life-sized scarecrows over next door’s fence

A wealthy couple endured a seven-year harassment campaign by a neighbour who set up dozens of bizarre scarecrows to overlook their garden, a court heard.

Company director John Riches and his partner Margaret O’Hanlon’s nightmare began in 2011 when they applied for permission to convert a garage at their home in Hitcham, Suffolk, into a two-bedroom bungalow.

Until then, magistrates at Ipswich were told, relations with their neighbour Kevin Maynard had been civil.

Company director John Riches (pictured) and his partner Margaret O¿Hanlon endured years of harassment campaign by neighbour Kevin Maynard who set up dozens of scarecrows to overlook their garden

Company director John Riches (pictured) and his partner Margaret O¿Hanlon endured years of harassment campaign by neighbour Kevin Maynard who set up dozens of scarecrows to overlook their garden

Company director John Riches (pictured) and his partner Margaret O’Hanlon endured years of harassment campaign by neighbour Kevin Maynard who set up dozens of scarecrows to overlook their garden

Mr Riches was forced to build a 10ft-high fence between his property and that of his neighbour but Maynard retaliated by lining up a string of life-size scarecrows over the barrier

Mr Riches was forced to build a 10ft-high fence between his property and that of his neighbour but Maynard retaliated by lining up a string of life-size scarecrows over the barrier

Mr Riches was forced to build a 10ft-high fence between his property and that of his neighbour but Maynard retaliated by lining up a string of life-size scarecrows over the barrier

After revealing their building plans, the couple suffered years of threats and abuse. 

Businessman Mr Riches said the relationship became so strained that he was forced to build a 10ft-high fence between his property and that of his neighbour.

But Maynard retaliated by lining up a string of life-size scarecrows to look over the barrier.

Magistrates handed 60-year-old Maynard a two-year restraining order, and they warned him that any breach of the terms could see him sent to prison for up to five years.

He was warned against contacting neighbours or approaching Mr Riches or Ms O’Hanlon, who live in a thatched home next door to Maynard’s former council house in the village near Stowmarket.

After the hearing, Mr Riches, 60, who runs a security company, spoke of enduring ‘seven years of hell’ while living next to the jobbing gardener.

The nightmare began in 2011 when the couple applied for permission to convert a garage at their home in Hitcham, Suffolk, into a two-bedroom bungalow

The nightmare began in 2011 when the couple applied for permission to convert a garage at their home in Hitcham, Suffolk, into a two-bedroom bungalow

The nightmare began in 2011 when the couple applied for permission to convert a garage at their home in Hitcham, Suffolk, into a two-bedroom bungalow

‘Things have got much, much worse over the years,’ he said. ‘The situation was so bad that we were forced to put up a 10ft-high fence between our property but he still put weird life-size effigies on poles overlooking our garden.

‘Letters have been circulated about us – put through every letter box in the village – and frankly this campaign against us has spoiled our lives here from the day we arrived.’

Issuing the restraining order last month, which lasts until November 2020, magistrates warned Maynard, who lives alone, that if he breaches any part of the order he ‘will commit an offence and may be sent to prison for up to five years’.

 

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