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Couple deny systematic harassment of neighbours

A MARRIED couple have gone on trial for the harassment of their neighbours over a six-year period.

A jury was told that they will hear evidence of the systematic and continued annoyance and harassment by Martin (66) and Ann (64) McLoughlin of their neighbours, Ray and Patricia Crowley.

The McLoughlins are each charged with the harassment of their neighbours over a six-year period from October 1, 2006, to March 31, 2012.

At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, counsel for the State, Stephen Coughlan BL, said that Mr McLoughlin also faces two charges of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Crowley.

The McLoughlins, of Ballymaconna, Barefield, Ennis, deny all charges.

Mr Coughlan said that in relation to the first incident on March 19, 2010, the jury will hear evidence that Mr McLoughlin told Mr Crowley: "I will get my lads to beat the s**t out of you and bury you in that wall."

Mr Coughlan said in relation to another incident, he is alleged to have told Mr Crowley on September 24, 2011: "F*** off or I'll kill you, I will f***ing kill you. I will f***ing kill you."

Mr Coughlan said that on the same date Mr Crowley saw Mr McLoughlin cutting hedges on Mr Crowley's property although he didn't have permission to do so.

In evidence yesterday afternoon, Mr Crowley (40), a married father of two boys aged 10 and four, told the court that he and his wife intended on building their "dream home" in Barefield on the outskirts of Ennis because it was in the countryside and near Patricia's homeplace.

Mr Crowley said that they purchased the site in 2004 and secured outline and subsequently full planning permission for the site.

He said: "We loved the location. We wanted the simple life and to go for walks down a country road."

He said that his first contact with Mr McLoughlin was in 2004, when Mr McLoughlin followed him and his wife into the field that was to be the site for their home.

Mr Crowley said that Mr McLoughlin wasn't friendly. He said: "He told us how bad the site was and that we shouldn't buy it."

He told the court: "My reaction to this was 'this isn't right' and it was none of his business."

Mr Crowley said that they broke ground on the site in October 2006 and he said that a digger broke a black water pipe protruding out of the ground on the edge of the site.

Mr Crowley said that Mr McLoughlin arrived at the scene and told him: "That's strike one. You'll be sorry for that."

The trial continues today.

Irish Independent