Nightmare neighbour returned to abuse couple after being released from prison

Ian Ireland appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates Court
Ian Ireland appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates Court

A nuisance neighbour who repeatedly hurled abuse at a married couple has been given a suspended jail term.

Magistrates heard Ian Ireland, 51, was jailed and banned from harassing Michael and Tracy Trotter after he threatened Mr Trotter with a knife in 2014.

Holly Common, prosecuting, told South Tyneside Magistrates Court: “There has been problems for six years. Ireland served a prison sentence for threatening Mr Trotter with a knife.

On his release, he was made the subject of an indefinite restraining order banning him from harassing Mr Trotter or members of his family.

“In January, Mrs Trotter returned home in her car to find Ireland sitting in his car, blocking her path. She had to mount the pavement to get on to her driveway.”

The court heard Ireland is a banned driver.

Ms Common added: “Mrs Trotter knew he was disqualified and called the police” said Ms Common. A short time later she left on foot to visit a neighbour. Ireland shouted obscenities at her.

“When police arrived, it was noticed Ireland smelled strongly of alcohol.

“He was abusive to the police officers, and when taken to the station he refused to give a sample of breath.”

Ireland, of St Joseph’s Court, Hebburn, admitted breaching a restraining order, driving while disqualified, and failing to provide a specimen of breath, all on January 19.

David Forrester, defending, said: “Mr Ireland suffers from multiple sclerosis, and appears in court today in a wheelchair.

“His father was a police officer. He was a hardworking cabbie in London until his life fell apart when he was diagnosed with the disease when he was 42.

“He is now dependent on his mother, and it’s the mental side of MS which he is finding hard to deal with as much as the physical symptoms.

“Ordinary situations frustrate him, and he doesn’t always react to others in an appropriate way.”

The court’s liaison probation officer said Ireland had been turning up for appointments under his existing probation order, but staff found him intimidating, aggressive, and unwilling to engage in the process.

The bench sentenced Ireland to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and disqualified him from driving for four years.

Ireland was ordered to pay £200 costs, which will be added to his existing fines account of £560.