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Harassed Swansea neighbour: 'I'm just so happy it's over'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 21, 2012

Linda Davies of Cwmrhydyceirw who was harassed by her neighbour Michael Matthews

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A WOMAN whose neighbour has been jailed after he repeatedly harassed her said: "I am just so happy it's all over — I used to be scared to go home".

Linda Davies also gave thanks to friends and family for their support as Michael Matthews, who lived next door to her in Clos Crucywel, Cwmrhydyceirw, was jailed for eight months at Swansea Crown Court on Monday.

The 57-year-old had been found guilty by a jury of using intimidating words or behaviour against Mrs Davies between May 3 and June 26 this year.

The offences, which included slamming doors, stamping his feet, singing loudly and chanting words and phrases at Mrs Davies, were in breach of a restraining order issued by magistrates in 2009.

Sentencing Matthews, Judge Paul Thomas said: "You have spent a large part of the past three years doing your level best to make Mrs Davies's life a living hell.

"You calculated and acted in a way to maximise her distress.

"Her quality of life has, I suspect, been reduced to a very low level indeed."

Mrs Davies, who works as a cleaner at Morriston Comprehensive School, said her life had been dominated by Matthews's behaviour, but that she was now looking forward to the future.

She said: "I was a prisoner in my own house.

"At first he was drumming for 20 hours a week, but that was reduced to three after he was spoken to by the Environmental Health department.

"After that he started making noises.

"It wasn't even singing, it was chanting, childish things like 'rinky dinky doo', but over and over again.

"One of the jurors was laughing when he saw him on CCTV because he was behaving like a child.

"The judge was brilliant in his summing up and I have been lucky with the support I have received from my family, from some of my other neighbours and from work colleagues.

"And the police have also been good to me — neighbourhood beat officer PC Sharon Price has been a great support.

"I am just glad it is over.

"It's been the most frightening time of my life.

"My house has not been my own.

"Matthews is just a bully. But for all that I did not want him to go to jail.

"I just wanted him to leave me in peace — now taxpayers are having to pay to keep him inside, and I never wanted that."

After Matthews was found guilty, the court was told two other women had complained about Matthews.

He had repeatedly followed a woman home from a shop in Cwmrhydyceirw, and asked her to go out with him, causing her distress.

And in July 2009, he had kissed a woman in a club, followed her home to Ynysforgan and asked her to call him.

She felt aggrieved by the actions of the defendant, the court was told.

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