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Englishman Murdered After Telling Neighbor He'd Have to Learn to Live With It

Neighbour killed in row over barking puppy

The Electronic Telegraph - Written by Michael Fleet - December 19, 1995

Nicholas Farnell, 32, hit William Pottage, 56, with a crowbar during an argument about the noise made by Max, said Michael Sayers, QC, prosecuting.

Mr Pottage fell to the ground and struck the back of his head, he told Winchester Crown Court. Farnell, a Jehovah's Witness, then turned on Mr Pottage's wife Christine and asked: "Do you want some?" as he brandished the crowbar.

Mr Pottage, who had been married for 20 years, died in hospital four days later.

Mr Sayers said the argument developed when Farnell saw Mr and Mrs Pottage return from shopping.

"The puppy would be left in the garden when they went out and while it was in there it used to bark - a lot."

When Farnell confronted them about this outside their home, Mr Pottage apologised and said the puppy would grow out of it.

Farnell threatened to call the RSPCA and then went to his car and returned with a crowbar, hitting Mr Pottage and breaking his jaw. Mr Sayers said: "He was poleaxed by the blow."

When police arrived, Farnell allegedly told them: "We're neighbours and it was all over a dog. We had a huge argument.

"I was already uptight and I just flipped and hit him over the head."

He later told detectives that Mr Pottage had said he would have to put up with the puppy's barking and refused to discuss the matter. He then felt threatened and fetched the crowbar.

"I felt he was about to hit me and my heart was beating 10 to the dozen," he said.

"I'm not used to confrontation anyway and I got the crowbar out of the car, which I kept there for self defence.

"I don't know why I hit him. I never intended to cause him any harm. I got the crowbar to show I meant business. I wanted him to listen to me," he said.

Farnell told police that he had been trying to enjoy some peace and quiet but was disturbed by the dog which was two houses away.

"All I have been listening to is a dog barking and whining at every noise. I shouted out of the bedroom window. I shouted at the dog, but it just started barking more.

"Over the last three or four days his wife had left the dog in the back garden and gone out. It's been howling, crying and barking.

"I don't dislike animals but I have a very low tolerance of any noises. I just thought they were not considering other people's peace and quiet by leaving the dog in the garden."

Mrs Pottage told the jury that they left the puppy in the garden but relied on neighbours to find out how he behaved. "I always asked them," she said.

Farnell, of Elgar Walk, Waterlooville, denies murder but admits manslaughter. The trial continues.

This page is part of the Violence in the News,
which is a component of the Barking Dog News and