A COUPLE forced to put up with a nightmare neighbour for decades have vowed not to let him stop them leading as normal a life as possible.
John Bushell was given an eight-week jail sentence suspended for two years at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court this week for breaching a restraining order imposed upon him for verbally abusing next-door neighbours Kenneth and Marjorie Mills since 1998.
It was the 10th time the pensioner, of Mill Crescent, Hebburn, had breached the order.
The latest sentence was imposed after the 89-year-old threatened Mr Mills over their shared garden fence, telling him he would “burn down your house before I die”.
Despite enduring decades of abuse, Mr and Mrs Mills, neighbours of Bushell’s for 45 years, are refusing to allow his antics to get them down.
Mr Mills, 69, said: “He’s being doing for years. You can’t really see it coming to an end.
“He’s talked about moving house, but he put the property on the market for too high a price, and he then took it off the market.
“You can’t allow it to get to you.”
His wife Marjorie added: “I used to be horrendous with it and was on medication for a time, but now I just can’t be bothered with it.
“But if he makes threats, we’ll phone the police and log it.”
Retired bookmaker Bushell moved into his property when it was built back in 1960.
And initially the Mills were friendly enough with the man known to his family and friends as Jackie.
Mrs Mills said: “We used to speak, and I was friendly with his wife, but he stopped that.
“We don’t have any problem with the rest of his family. They all seem perfectly nice, and I have no idea what they think about what he’s done over the years.
“There just comes a point when you can’t allow it to rule your life.”
The couple have expressed their thanks for the support they have received from other neighbours throughout their legal battles.
“We couldn’t have asked for more”, Mrs Mills said.
Sadly for Mr and Mrs Mills, it seems unlikely that Bushell will be moving on any time soon.
The court heard that he had been planning to move with his wife to a bungalow outside Hebburn, but that now appears to be on hold, with the pensioner blaming the state of his neighbours’ homes and gardens for the decision.
Bushell claimed potential buyers were being put off by the “poor state” of neighbouring properties.
His home is now off the market.