Ex-builder, 84, caught on camera trying to damage neighbour's wall
Retired builder, 84, locked in boundary war with his neighbour was caught on Ring doorbell camera creeping out and trying to damage her wall at night costing her £1,200
- Pensioner Kevin Lawrence was convicted of criminal damage following a trial
A pyjama-clad pensioner who repeatedly damaged his neighbour’s wall in the early hours of the morning has been forced to pay out more than £1,000 after being caught by a secret camera.
Ex-builder Kevin Lawrence, 84, embarked on a series of late-night sorties to sabotage Carole Buckley’s newly-erected garden wall because he believed it encroached on his land.
The wall at the back of Miss Buckley’s property in the village of Bollington, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, consisted of a series of brick pillars which were connected by wooden slats.
Lawrence would sneak out the back door of his cottage to hack at the brick work with a chisel, hammer and drill, before filling some of the holes he had made with glue-soaked lollipop sticks.
At Crewe magistrates court, Lawrence was convicted of criminal damage and was ordered to pay £900 in compensation. He was also fined £100 with £40 costs.
Ex-builder Kevin Lawrence (pictured left outside court), 84, embarked on a series of late-night sorties to cause damage to Carole Buckley’s (right) newly erected garden fence, which he believed encroached on his land
Lawrence would sneak out the back door of his cottage in the village of Bollington, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, to hack at the brick pillars of the fence (pictured) with a chisel, hammer and drill
During one his DIY attacks, Lawrence emerged in his back yard at 1.45am while dressed only in his pyjamas to check on some of his handiwork – only to be caught in the act by Miss Buckley who had installed Ring security cameras to catch the vandal.
She was woken up by an alarm triggered by the OAP’s illicit late-night manoeuvres, and looked at her phone to see Lawrence prowling in his nightwear outside.
Miss Buckley also captured Lawrence on other occasions repeatedly setting about the white rendering on her back wall and a capstone, causing £1,200 worth of damage.
He also drilled into brickwork itself and inserted glue soaked lollipop sticks in the holes he made – which he later tried to claim was to ‘strengthen’ the structure.
Miss Buckley, who is in her 50s and who had lived next door to Lawrence for up to 14 years, later said she was caused so much stress by the dispute that she had to take five weeks off work and lost half a stone in weight.
The court heard Lawrence had started ‘intimidating and bullying’ Miss Buckley when her partner moved out in 2021. Relations between them worsened even further when she erected the fence on her property to enclose her back yard.
Miss Buckley told the hearing: ‘I try not to interact with Kevin Lawrence because I have found his behaviour towards me since my partner left to be intimidating and of a bullying nature.
‘I have lived there for about 14 years and up until the last 16 months I was living with my partner.
‘Mr Lawrence’s behaviour definitely became more intimidating towards me since I have been living on my own. I have always known there have been issues with other neighbours but he had never bothered me at all until I was living alone and having building work done.
Pictured is the front of Lawrence’s house on the left and Miss Buckley’s house to the right
The back of the houses show the brick and wooden fence belonging to Miss Buckley on the left, with Lawrence’s property on the right
‘I had fencing around my property which had concrete posts which were not straight so I needed to replace the concrete posts. Considering that the original fence was falling on to his property I thought I was doing the right thing.
‘I then decided to have a new kitchen fitted. I did not extend out, it just was internal. and I had bi-folding doors fitted and some rendering done to the back wall.
Miss Buckley installed cameras in August last year and soon afterwards was alerted to Lawrence’s sabotage campaign. One clip showed him stood next to the new fence carrying a can of liquid which he them placed on the pillar.
In another clip he was seen bending down at the base before twice climbing up to have a brief look over into Miss Buckley’s property.
A third clip taken at 1.45am, Lawrence could be seen in his pyjamas with a torch going to the pillar with a piece of plastic. Other clips show him using an electric drill on the pillar and cutting away at the rendering where the capstone meets the wall with a hammer and chisel.
Miss Buckley said: ‘I am not the type of person that can just go and challenge anybody. I did not feel like I was in a position to do that.
‘I thought the best way to stop it was to get evidence first on camera and seek help from the local police.
At Crewe magistrates court, Lawrence was convicted of criminal damage and was ordered to pay £900 in compensation. He was also fined £100 with £40 costs
Magistrates were shown a copy of a Land Registry letter that confirmed Miss Buckley’s (pictured) fence and brick pillars were entirely within the confines of her property and did not encroach on Lawrence’s land
‘But the moment the camera went up, my phone was going off every day. In the middle of the night, at 1.45am. When I looked out he was in his pyjamas with his torch. There is another incident where he puts a knife on top of the capstone.
‘Another when he climbed up with a hammer and chisel and appeared to be hacking at the render. My phone was going off constantly. I ended up having five weeks off work with stress. When you get woken up at 1.45am you think ”What is going on? Is he breaking in? What else is he going to do?”
‘At one stage I flew off to Egypt and the phone was going off all the time when I was there. He was climbing over the wall, damaging the render. The builder said if water got behind it, it would cause damp. You cannot just repair render. I put a padlock on the back gate out of fear of Mr Lawrence coming in.
‘He would stare at me from his garden and I had to put the blind down at the patio door because I was eating my tea and he would just come and look at me.
‘It was as if he was trying to get me to react to what he was doing. It definitely affected me. I took five weeks off work, I lost weight, I was 52kg and I am now 49kg, due to the stress.
‘At the end of the day, you should not allow someone to push you out of your own home.
‘I have felt like a prisoner in my own home. I am still not using the back entrance in case I come across Mr Lawrence. I find his behaviour and manner toward me intimidating. More often than not I have the blinds down at the back. My mental health has definitely suffered.’
Miss Buckley installed cameras in August last year and soon afterwards was alerted to Lawrence’s sabotage campaign
Magistrates were shown a copy of a Land Registry letter that confirmed Miss Buckley’s fence and brick pillars were entirely within the confines of her property and did not encroach on Lawrence’s land.
In a police interview Lawrence admitted drilling into the brick pillar and claimed he inserted lollipop sticks dipped in glue, for the purpose of ‘strengthening’ it as the capstone had become loose.
He told the hearing: ‘I am not guilty of damaging the white coat on her wall. I used PVA glue to stop the lid from being lifted and slid over to an unfavourable position to do with my property and the party wall.
‘I drilled into the side of the composition between the top stone and the pillar and inserted pegs dipped in the PVA to hold the top down on the main pillar. That was my purpose to hold things exactly as they were.’
When asked if he had harassed his neighbour, he said: ‘I do not have anything to do with her, it’s just one of those things. She has a daughter, a solicitor, and she had a go at me because she thought I was harassing her mother.
‘As for her cousin, she had a go at me as well when I suggested that it may be because of the boundary situation. I do not want anything to do with her whatsoever. I had no idea she had something connected to her phone that would wake her up.’
Lawrence was cleared of a separate charge of harassment.
JP Fraser Geekie told him: ‘We accept Carole Buckley’s live evidence but do not accept your testimony which we found inconsistent and largely unbelievable.
‘Criminal damage may be a minor offence, but we do recognise how much grief this has caused to Carole Buckley.’
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