NEXT door neighbours who have accused each other of an ongoing war of harassment and intimidation are suing each other for just under €40,000 damages each for assault or emotional suffering.
Mary McBride, an 83-year-old pensioner, told Judge Alison Lindsay in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that she and her husband Eddie, also in his eighties, had been "crucified" by neighbours Michael and Marian Hanway for the past 13 years.
The Hanways, of 38 Villa Park Gardens, Navan Road, Dublin, are suing the McBrides, of number 40, for emotional suffering, harassment and intimidation, trespass and deliberate camera surveillance of the comings and goings at their home.
The McBrides countersued, alleging similar behaviour as well as assault, noise pollution and putting them in fear.
Breffni Gordon, counsel for the Hanways, told Judge Lindsay it started after his clients returned from holiday in 1998 to find a double row of blocks built onto the rear garden boundary wall by the McBrides.
Marian Hanway, a nurse, said "things festered" after that, leading to a "falling out" and the eventual arrest of her husband, Michael, who had been twice prosecuted by the McBrides and convicted in the District Court for noise pollution, fined and bound to the peace.
Mrs Hanway said solicitors letters from the McBrides became frequent, complaining about the sound of garden wind chimes or their dog growling. Gardai had also searched their home when the McBrides claimed she had poured weed killer on a grass patch outside the McBride's home.
Mrs Hanway agreed with barrister Pat O'Brien, counsel for the McBrides, that she had been videoed with a watering can at the grass patch shortly before the grass died. She said she was watering the grass.
She and her husband Michael, a security guard, said the McBrides secretly made CCTV recordings 24/7 of activities in the Hanway rear garden and driveway and claimed a camera had been hidden behind an air vent. They also alleged hedge clippings were thrown on their lawn by the McBrides.
Mr Hanway said there had been a constant "tyranny of intimidation" from the McBrides who kept banging doors in their home and kept TV and radio sound turned up loud. He denied having driven his car at the McBrides before braking suddenly in front of them.
The McBrides claimed the Hanways harassed, intimidated, abused, threatened, stalked and spat at them and that Mr Hanway, after runs, cleared his nostrils on the footpath outside the McBrides' sitting room window. They had water and eggs thrown at them, she claimed.
The Hanway kept loud music on in their home, often when they were at work. The music had been so loud that the glassware and Delph in the McBrides' china cabinet had vibrated.
She said Mr Hanway had once called her a "f*****ing bitch."The case continues today.