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Jailed neighbour made his victim's life 'a living hell'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

Michael Matthews

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A JUDGE has said a man who told a court he wanted to make people happy ended up making his neighbour's life a living hell, and jailed him for eight months.

Michael Matthews was found guilty by a jury at Swansea Crown Court of using intimidating words or behaviour against his neighbour, Linda Davies, at their homes in Clos Crucywel, Cwmrhydyceirw, between May 3 and June 26 this year.

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

The jury, of eight women and four men, found him guilty in less than an hour.

Representing Matthews, Heath Edwards said he had not served any time in prison before and this would "come as a significant shock to the system for him."

Judge Paul Thomas said: "In the course of your evidence you used the phrase 'All I wanted to do was to make people happy'

"Your behaviour over the last three years demonstrated that your true intention has demonstrated exactly the opposite. 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.

"Taken individually, each act you committed was not of particular seriousness.

"The mischief here is that you have done everything possible so that Mrs Davies doesn't enjoy her home or her life.

"This isn't about whistling, singing or stomping up the stairs or childlishly calling her names, it's about obeying court orders."

He said he had demonstrated intolerable behaviour and an inability to live by court orders.

Judge Thomas added: "I find this was a deliberate campaign by you to push what you considered to be the court order to the limit. The time has quite simply come that you have to serve a prison sentence."

In April this year he was given a six-month suspended sentence, suspended for 24 months. The six-month suspended term was activated, and another two month sentence for the latest breach.

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