Love of Rihanna lands couple in court
A COUPLE have been fined by magistrates for playing Rihanna tracks too loud - despite telling a court that the US star has a "great range of music" and "the added bonus being very hot".
Sean Brough, 27, and Lyndsey Smith, 28, have been hit with a £1,215 bill after noise enforcement officers caught them playing music too loudly after midnight.
They had refused to listen to complaints from their next-door neighbours, who are in their late 50s, and landed themselves in court on Friday.
York magistrates heard that noise enforcement officers repeatedly told the pair to keep the noise down in their terraced home in York over an eight-month period.
Anthony Dean, for City of York Council, told the court that, after midnight on November 27, a noise patrol heard half an hour of music so loud they declared it was impossible for anyone to sleep or rest in the next-door house.
But the Rihanna fans, who include their their three boys, Kailam, 11, and twins, Reagan and Kean, both six, maintain their innocence.
Self-employed bricklayer Sean said: "We are a young family, and when the kids go to their grandma's on a weekend we do let out hair down a bit, but nothing crazy."
He and his girlfriend admit they are a little obsessed with Rihanna, who won Best International Female at this year's Brit Awards.
"We do listen to other music but Rihanna is our favourite. She has such a great range of music and she has had several albums out since she came on the scene about six years ago, all of them good," he said.
"Of course there is the added bonus of her being very hot. Even our Kailam loves her."
The couple told the court they had turned their stereo, which was in the kitchen, down so much they couldn't hear it in the bathroom immediately above it and that the next-door neighbours complained if they heard the couple laughing or talking in their own home.
"We accept we were playing the music but I don't think we played it that loud," said Sean.
"We don't get on that great with the neighbours next door so I think it has more to do with that, the neighbours on the other side didn't mind.
"We have had complaints about the kids playing outside and other stuff. But we have agreed to comply and turn it down.
"We have been treated quite badly here and we are a normal hard-working family. In November officials burst into our home and ransacked the place, taking away a number of things, including Kailam's TV and Playstation - that wasn't fair.
"I feel quite embarrassed it has ended this way, and the lads at work are really ripping in to me."
They pleaded guilty to breaching a noise abatement notice and were each ordered to pay 350 pounds, a 15 pounds victim surcharge and 250 pounds towards prosecution costs, a total of 1,215 pounds. Their stereo was also confiscated.
Mr Dean said council officers first received a complaint about the couple's music in April when it was so loud in the next-door house they could distinctly hear the words of In The Summertime and other songs between 1.55am and 2.20am on Sunday, April 10.
Despite warnings, the couple played loud music on other occasions, and both were served with noise abatement notices in the following months.
On November 27, the noise patrol was again called to the street and heard Rihanna songs with a bass played so loudly it was impossible to rest or sleep in the neighbours' bedroom.
The father of three said: "The neighbours on the other side wrote us a letter to say we are good neighbours, which was handed to the court, and we had offered to go into mediation with the Barkers but they refused.
"Another time when they complained we invited council officers in to show we were not playing our stereo and they accepted our side.
"For a moment, in court, we thought it was going to go our way - but then we ended up with this massive fine. More than anything we'd like to see Rihanna live but we'll never afford it now."
Neighbour Jean Barker said: "I didn't know what they were listening to because I only listen to our old stuff. But it is now over and I have moved on from this."