Man tore down neighbour’s fence and attacked him after 12-year boundary row

A man violently tore his next-door neighbour’s fence down in rage after a 12-year boundary dispute, which ended in a punch up.

Mark Donnison ripped down two wooden panels in between his house and James Reck, his neighbour’s house, following years of tension.

The 40-year-old then broke the fence up into bits and stamped all over it, before crossing into Reck’s garden and attacking him.

This week at court Donnison pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property valued under £5,000 and assault by beating.

The incident was captured on video by Reck and his wife who reported the attack on May 29.

Ian Martin, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant had taken it upon himself pull down the witness’ fence and then to further break up bits of it, stamp all over it before effectively invading over the property line to assault the victim in this case.

“It’s all captured on mobile phone footage.”

The court in Middlesbrough was shown video footage of factory operative, Donnison, destroying the fence between the two homes.

The defendant can be seen tearing down the panels before walking over to the victim, who is holding the camera, and appearing to attack him, according to a report in Teesside Live.

A woman can be heard in the background shouting “Look what you have done” and “Get off my husband”.

The angry exchange between the neighbours took place in Northpark

In a victim impact statement, read to the court by Mr Martin, Mr Reck said the whole situation has left him anxious.

He said: “The amount of stress following it has been a nightmare. My stress levels have been heightened.

“Selling out property and waiting to complete the sale – it’s increased my anxiety and I’m not a person who usually suffers therefore I know this has been a knock on effect.”

Donnison, of Northpark, Billingham, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property valued under £5,000 and assault by beating.

The criminal damage charge related to him destroying the two fence panels, which were worth £50.

Paul Watson, defending, told the court: “Mr and Mrs Reck have moved from the property, he has no idea where they have gone.

“Also what is not noted is this – there’s actually two fences attached to each other so Mr and Mrs Reck had, without permission of Mr Donnison, attached their fence to his – screwed theirs to it.”

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He said a dispute had been ongoing between the neighbours for 12 years and Mr and Mrs Reck refused to compromise with Donnison.

Mr Watson told the court how the couple refused to do anything about it and his client “lost his temper”.

He said: “Afterwards Mr Donnison erected the fence on the proper line therefore the situation was resolved.

“He accepts that he went too far.”

Donnison’s solicitor said the dispute had caused him anxiety and stress.

He said: “There’s clear knee from him into the leg of Mr Donnison which doesn’t help the situation. 12 years he would say of provocation.

“The neighbours have gone. He doesn’t know where they have gone to that’s not going to continue and he replaced the fence at his own expense.”

District Judge Mark Daley asked Mr Watson: “Has the 12-year dispute been about the boundary the whole time?”

Mr Watson replied: “Unfortunately yes sir.

“There’s been reports by Mr Donnison to police, especially when a sign was put up and he asked the Reck’s to remove it which they did.

“Reports by the Reck’s against Mr Donnison and his partner. Not everyday but on enough occasions to cause an affect with the mental health of Mr Donnison”.

District Judge Daley told Donnison: “You pleaded guilty to these offences at the first opportunity. I have taken that into account, along with the fact you are, until now, a man with no previous convictions.

“This is an offence which does merit some kind of punishment, I’m going to deal with that by way of a financial penalty.”

The judge fined Donnison £400 and ordered him to pay £150 compensation to his former neighbour.

He also ordered the defendant to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £40 surcharge.

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