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Times Online Britain - Written by Steve Bird - December 10, 2004
A MAN used a JCB digger to flatten his neighbour's Volvo estate car after being driven mad by their barking dogs, a court heard yesterday.
Ian Jessett, a "mild-mannered" IT consultant, positioned the hefty metal bucket above the Volvo car and twice brought it crashing down on to the roof after a two-year dispute with his neighbours.
Jessett, 44, insisted that his peace in the small Norfolk village where he lived had been shattered by the incessant barking of his neighbour's German shepherd dogs, Lucy and Paddington.
That night his neighbours, Wendy Sutton, an accountant, and her husband, Paul, 43, returned from an exhibition in London called Discover Dogs to their home in Stow Bedon, near Watton, but remained unaware of the state of their Volvo car because it was dark. They did, however, find a note from Jessett accusing them of "unneighbourly behaviour" because of their pets' noise.
As the couple sat down to dinner, Jessett banged on the door and told them: "By the way, I have trashed your car and it is a good job you arrived home when you did because I was going to have a go at your house."
Mr Sutton, the manager of a butcher's business, ran outside and shone a torch on the mangled wreck of the vehicle. The couple then called the police. Jessett, who runs an IT company with ten employees, was fined £800 at Thetford Magistates' Court after he admitted criminal damage to the Volvo last month.
The court heard that Jessett had become so desperate after the dogs had arrived at his neighbours' home two years ago that he had bought an ultrasound device in the hope it would stop them barking.
Malcolm Plummer, defending, said that Jessett, who had lived at Walnut Tree Farm for seven years and worked from home, had initially got on well with the Suttons.
"At first there was no problem and they were good neighbours to each other, borrowing bits and pieces from time to time," he said. "Then, two years ago, Mr and Mrs Sutton bought two German shepherd dogs. At first they were kept indoors, but then they built a run for the dogs at the back of their house and that is when it started.
"It was barking every single minute, every single hour, every day. It became quite intolerable. He had absolutely no peace and could not even sit in his own garden or conservatory."
He said Jessett approached Mr and Mrs Sutton and the council and, after a brief respite, the barking continued. He then rigged up the ultrasound gear but took it down after the Suttons said that they were concerned what it did to the dogs.
On November 14, he used the JCB, kept on his seven-acre farm, to smash the car after Mrs Sutton's mother left the dogs out after feeding them. Jessett wrote an apology to the Suttons and the dogs have been kept in the house and under control since the incident.Outside court Jessett, who lives with his partner, said: "I regret the circumstances and am extremely sorry.
"I have a nice house, a garden and conservatory, but have not been allowed to relax and forget about stress and problems. I am an extremely mild-mannered man. . . I just didn't know what to do."
Mrs Sutton, 42, said she hoped that the court case would mark an end of the dispute. She added: "I will send him a Christmas card. Why not? Life is too short and it is Christmas after all."
The News.Telegraph - Written by David Sapsted - October, 12, 2004
A "mild-mannered" computer executive got so fed up with the incessant barking of his neighbours' dogs ruining his weekends that he took a JCB next door and destroyed their car.
Ian Jessett jumped into the cab of the digger he uses on his seven-acre smallholding in Norfolk and twice brought the bucket down, flattening the ageing Volvo estate that his neighbours used to drive the dogs around.
Yesterday, Jessett, 44, who runs an IT company employing 10 staff, was fined £800 by magistrates in Thetford after he admitted criminal damage to the car.
Malcolm Plummer, Jessett's solicitor, told the court that his client had lived at Walnut Tree Farm in the village of Stow Bedon, near Watton, for seven years.
Paul Sutton, 43, a butchery manager, and his wife Wendy, 42, an accountant, lived next door in a four-bedroom, detached home. Jessett was on good terms with them until they bought German shepherds Paddington and Lucy two years ago.
"At first they were kept indoors but then they built a run for the dogs at the back of their house and that is when it started," said Mr Plummer. "It was barking every single minute, every single hour, every day. This went on day after day after day. It became quite intolerable.
"He had absolutely no peace and could not even sit in his own garden or conservatory. This would be enough to drive anyone around the bend. He is a mild-mannered man and a good citizen but it all came to a head on the day in question."
On that day a month ago, the Suttons had taken their 11-year-old daughter Charlotte to a dog show in London. "When we got home at 6.30pm it was dark and we didn't know what Mr Jessett had done. We just went inside to have our tea," said Mrs. Sutton.
"He came round later and abused us and my husband got up to ask him to leave. As he left, he said, 'By the way, I have trashed your car'. Then he told us he would have had a go at the house if we hadn't got back when we did.
"We went round to ask the neighbours whether they had heard the dogs barking and they said they hadn't.
"I was frightened that he could do such a thing to be honest. You wonder what will happen next." Mr Plummer suggested to the court that "perhaps it would have been more logical for him [Jessett] to have gone round and shot the dogs". He added: "But he did what he did as a cry for attention - a rather bizarre and dangerous one.
"He was saying to the Suttons, 'You are not taking this seriously. This is ruining my life. What have I got to do to get your attention and stop these wretched dogs from ruining my life?'
"He realised he had done wrong and put a note through the Suttons' letter box and went round to apologise. The level of provocation was substantial and something no neighbour should have to put up with.
"Since the incident the dogs have been under control and kept in. He is having peaceful weekends at last. In effect, what he did has worked but it has cost him dearly."
Outside court, Jessett, who is unmarried but lives with his girlfriend, said: "I regret the circumstances that have arisen and I am extremely sorry.
"I have a nice house, a garden and conservatory, but have not been allowed to relax and forget about stress and problems. I made numerous polite requests and wrote them letters.
"Anyone who has been subject to noise pollution will know that it just builds and builds and builds.
"I am an extremely mild-mannered man and I have my own dog, a Jack Russell. I just didn't know what to do and went round in the JCB and brought the bucket down twice, squashing the car."
A civil case will now decide the compensation the Suttons are due for the destruction of the H-reg Volvo. Mrs Sutton said she hoped that there would be a reconciliation with her neighbour.
"I will send him a Christmas card. Why not?" she said. "Life is too short and it is Christmas after all."
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