A 79-year-old has been slapped with a restraining order – forbidding him from speaking to a family who live next door.
Ronald Jones harassed his female neighbour, making comments about her weight, terrifying her young son and soaking her with a hose pipe.
Jones - who has lived next to Vicky and Geoffrey Harland for nearly ten years - now faces arrest if he speaks to his neighbours – despite having to walk past them when he wants to get in his house.
For eight months keen gardener Jones harassed his neighbour Vicky Harland, making her physically sick with worry and anxious about bumping into him.
Her eight-year-old son William was so terrified by Jones that he refused to play outside, and froze like a statue when he saw the pensioner.
During a two day trial at Chester Magistrates Court the mother-of-one broke down as she described how her family tried to avoid the pensioner, leaving the house at different times, parking their car in a place and staying inside when they saw him tending to his garden.
But they were forced to call the police several times as Jones continued to harass Mrs Harland, between May and January last year.
Jones, who the couple said had always had “something to say”, was issued with a harassment notice in October by police after a series of incidents, including:
• Purposely soaking Mrs Harland with a garden hose;
• Telling her she should get “a job if you want to lose weight”;
• Bashing her in the stomach with a gate during an argument, leaving her bruised;
• Calling them a “family of Gypsies”.
The situation came to a head when the pensioner shoved past the couple’s son and told him he “was going to pay” as the child collected logs in the days running up to Christmas.
The couple said Jones also repeatedly threatened to have them thrown out of the house, which is rented from the Duke of Westminster – as his son Peter works for Eaton Estate.
Speaking from the witness stand, Mrs Harland said: “It is awful, I live next door to this person and it as if he just can’t help himself.
“There were always underlying issues, there were always things he had to say.
“It is the constant worry of what is going to happen next. It makes me feel sick.
“It affects every aspect of my life. I absolutely love our village, it is beautiful. It is such a shame that this has happened.
“We never wanted to escalate this. I do not know how many times we phoned the police. We were left with no option but to go to them, it just wasn’t stopping.”
Jones, who lives at the house with his wife, denied harassing the couple, saying he was upset that he had been accused.
The former BT employee denied shoving past the couple’s young son and threatening him on December 20, but admitted the child looked “frightened”.
“It is not in my nature to bully people,” said Mr Jones.
He was found guilty of harassment by Chester magistrates, who issued an 18 month restraining order forbidding him to contact the Harlands in any way.
Jones, who was handed a conditional discharge for two years, was ordered to pay court costs of £1,240 and a victim surcharge of £15.
Magistrates said: “You live in close proximity in a very nice village and it is going to be very difficult.”