South Shields woman felt like ‘prisoner in her own home’ as nightmare neighbour jailed after five-month harassment campaign

A nightmare neighbour who threatened to kill the woman living downstairs during a five-month harassment campaign has been jailed.

Gary Turbitt’s behaviour from his flat in Marshall Wallis Road, South Shields, forced his terrified victim to move, a court heard.

Turbitt, now of no fixed abode, is starting 26 weeks behind bars for behaviour a judge described as “hostile towards her and completely unnecessary”.

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His intimidation began on Tuesday, January 19, last year and stretched to Tuesday, May 25, prosecutor Jonathan Stirland told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Gary Turbitt.Gary Turbitt.
Gary Turbitt.

It reached its peak at 11.30am on Thursday, March 11, when he banged on her window and shouted, “I’m going to ******* kill you”.

The woman called police – and officers were in her flat when Turbitt repeated the warning, while stomping on his floor.

Turbitt’s January onslaught began with stamps on her ceiling and whacks on her bedroom window.

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In early February, Mr Stirland said Turbitt knocked on her door and asked to borrow a phone charger, adding: “She was expecting her sister.

“She told him she did have a charger. He tried to force his way in, and said, “I’m your ******* neighbour”.

Turbitt also struck between Monday, March 8, and Thursday, March 11, including standing in a yard and calling her offensive names.

Days earlier, he had pushed four unwanted handwritten notes, containing ramblings which included the words ‘no bother’ and ‘I know she wants me again’, through her door.

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Trouble flared again on Sunday, March 21, when he repeated his floorboard stamping and bangs on her window.

Mr Stirland said Turbitt’s finale came at 2.30pm on Monday, May 24, adding: “She was at home with her brother when water started coming through the ceiling.

“It lasted for about an hour. He shouted, ‘I’ll get you, I’m coming to get you’.”

Turbitt initially denied a charge of harassment and his trial was part-heard when he changed his plea, his victim having given evidence.

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In a victim statement, the woman said: “I’m frightened of Gary. I’m fearful that will carry out his threats.

“I’m fearful about going outside in case Gary assaults me. I’m a prisoner in my own home.

“I feel extremely anxious and distressed by all of Gary’s actions. This has caused me great stress.”

She added: “I’m 11 weeks pregnant and I’m on antidepressants and can’t sleep.

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“I don’t know why he’s targeted me. This is having a detrimental effect on me.”

David Forrester, defending, said Turbitt denied forcing his way into his neighbour’s home but admitted he may have used his foot to block the door from closing.

He added: “The offences go back a while, they were persistent. The behaviour is unpleasant and random at most.”

District Judge Paul Currer told Turbitt: “You made her life a complete misery.”

Turbitt must pay a £128 victim surcharge.