Wales

Nuisance neighbour battle in Brecon won after 18 years

A nuisance neighbour is finally to be evicted, 18 years after residents first complained about her.

Wales and West Housing Association (WWHA) says it has been granted possession of the home in Cradoc Close, Brecon, Powys by a county court judge.

The association said Jane Griffiths harassed the majority of neighbours, several of whom left.

It first received complaints in 1993 but said residents had feared giving evidence.

WWHA said people feared reprisals if they spoke out.

But the association said one family eventually broke the silence and Brecon County Court granted the association possession of her home following a hearing.

Meanwhile, Dyfed-Powys Police said Griffiths, 53, and her daughter Natalie Whatmough, 23, were also convicted of five charges relating to harassment and public order offences during a trial at Brecon Magistrates' Court last week.

A WWHA spokeswoman said her neighbours decided in 2010 that "enough was enough" and stood up to Mrs Griffiths and her daughter, Natalie Whatmough.

The association said it knew that over the years at least seven families who lived next door had moved out because of "continuous harassment".

WWHA said District Judge Llewellyn, at Brecon County Court, told Griffiths that it was one of the worst cases he had heard. He said the case itself was unique given the length of time it had taken and the amount of victims who had the misfortune to "cross her".

Many neighbours who had previously lived next door to Mrs Griffiths gave evidence against her in the hearing that lasted four days, said WWHA.

Those who were still too afraid to give evidence directly allowed WWHA staff to use information that they had provided previously with a cover letter explaining what had happened to them during their time as neighbours.

WWHA said Judge Llewellyn criticised Mrs Griffiths for putting the victims and witnesses through the ordeal of attending court and giving evidence, when she knew that she was guilty and what she had done was wrong.

WWHA said Mrs Griffiths could not explain to the court why she had acted in such a way.

A WWHA spokeswoman said: "I'm delighted that at last justice has been done. It was a wonderful outcome for the residents both past and present, who can now live in relative peace and quiet.

"Wales and West Housing Association will not tolerate anti-social behaviour which has devastating effects on families and blights communities.

"We will continue to work proactively with police forces across Wales to tackle problem families such as this."

Mrs Griffiths and her daughter were also found guilty of criminal matters as well.

At their trial between 20 and 22 February, Dyfed-Powys Police said Griffiths was fined £450 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and £15 victim surcharge. Whatmough was fined £200 and she was ordered to pay £1,000 costs and £15 victim surcharge.

They were also given restraining orders, said police.

Pc Gareth Tanswell said: "This court order sends out a clear message to people who intimidate innocent members of our communities.

"Additionally, this successful outcome in the courts will reassure our communities that all crimes - including nuisance neighbours - will be dealt with appropriately."

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