A PEST pensioner who has waged war on his neighbours for decades has been found guilty of harassing them again – but will not be punished until next year.
John Bushell was given a restraining order in 1998 which banned him from contacting his next-door neighbours.
Since then the 86-year-old has breached the order eight times – resulting in a further three convictions, which saw him jailed in 2001 and electronically tagged last year.
And yesterday he was found guilty of breaching the order again after hurling a tirade of abuse at his neighbours – Kenneth and Marjorie Mills – outside their homes in May.
Bushell, of Mill Crescent, Hebburn, was sweeping his drive and the footpath outside his home when he called the couple scumbags and said their home was a midden – a middle English word, meaning a rubbish heap.
He was found guilty of breaching the restraining order at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court after a two-day trial.
The retired book-keeper admitted shouting at Mr and Mrs Mills, but said he had been provoked by them taping him on a camcorder whenever he was in the street. After seeing a video of the rant and hearing from other neighbours who watched the exchange, magistrates found he had no excuse for the rant.
Chairwoman of the bench Patricia Morris said: “We believe it has been proved that you breached the order.
“And we are satisfied that evidence we heard from Mr and Mrs Mills and the other neighbours was credible.
“We do not accept you had reasonable grounds to breach the order and therefore find the case proved beyond all reasonable doubt.”
Instead of sentencing Bushell straight away, the magistrates deferred the sentence for six months and he will be back at the court on May 1.
Mrs Morris added: “During that time, we expect you to keep away from your neighbours.”
During the first day of the trial, the court heard from Mr Mills who said he was drying his car on the road outside his home when Bushell started shouting at him.
In his defence, Mr Bushell – known as Jackie to friends – said: “They are plaguing my life with the camera.
“I’m just out trying to make my place look nice. She came out and said she had me locked up before and would do again.
“She said we were snobs and no one liked us and we should just leave
“I called them scumbags in response to that.”