A NEIGHBOUR dispute got out of hand after a man’s strimmer got caught in his neighbour’s trouser leg.
Stuart Hackett was convicted of assaulting Deborah Tanguay after he twice spat in her face.
Swansea magistrates heard the incident had come about after a background of disagreement between the two groups over land between their Pontardawe homes.
Prosecutor Alison Bray told the court this incident had come about after Hackett, aged 52, of Hazeldene of Pheasant Road, Pontardawe, entered land belonging to Mrs Tanguay and her husband.
He has a right of way through part of the land but said shrubs the Tanguays had planted were blocking his line of sight.
On September 22, Mrs Tanguay saw Hackett in the contested area using a strimmer to cut down the shrubs, including newly planted rhododendrons.
She rang the police but then made her way towards him to tell him to stop.
“I told him to stop and leave it. He just totally ignored me,” said Mrs Tanguay.
She said she had to shout to make herself heard over the noise of the running strimmer.
“He just carried on with what he was doing. I stepped forward again and I got in front of him,” she said.
“The strimmer got caught in my trouser leg and he pulled it away,” added Mrs Tanguay.
She said she did not do anything to react but admitted being “angry”.
As he walked away, she said she tripped and as she stumbled tried to grab his jumper to steady her fall, but then an argument broke out, where she admitted calling her neighbour “mad”.
“Then he spat at me,” she said.
“The first time it went down on my shirt. The second time, he spat on my face,” added Mrs Tanguay.
CCTV was played to District Judge David Parsons from a camera installed in the Tanguays’s home.
Hackett had maintained that the strimmer getting caught had been an accident and that he had not spat in his neighbour’s face.
His barrister, Patrick Llewellyn, said Mrs Tanguay had not acted in the natural way after the alleged spitting because the CCTV had not shown her wiping her face. She said she had done so at home and had kept the tissue to provide to police in case they needed it as evidence.
The judge imposed a 12-month community order, 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered Hackett to pay £625 in costs as well as £200 of compensation.