Hebburn MS sufferer hit with court bill after one-finger gesture at neighbour he was barred from contacting

He appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
He appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

A Multiple Sclerosis sufferer has been hit a hefty court bill - after making an abusive gesture from his car at neighbour he was barred from contacting.

Disabled Ian Ireland was hauled before magistrates after directed the rude sign towards Michael Trotter as he walked behind his Fiat 500 mobility vehicle.

He accepts in strict terms he has breached the restraining order

Christopher Brown

A court heard that the 51-year-old’s one-finger flashpoint breached the terms of an indefinite restraining order made against him after he was convicted of an assault against the victim and possession of a blade in February, 2014.

Wheelchair-bound Ireland, of Saint Joseph Court, Hebburn, admitted breaching the restraining order when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrates were told that Mr Trotter ‘feared for his family’s safety’ due to the previous attack by Ireland.

Christopher Brown, defending, said Ireland had abided by the restraining order for over two years and had his life ‘changed considerably’ by his ongoing battle with the neurological condition.

Rebecca Laverick, prosecuting, said: “The restraining order was put in place on February 14 in a relation to a conviction of common assault and possession of a bladed article.

“On April 22, the victim Michael Trotter was out walking his dog on Mill Lane in Hebburn at the junction with Saint Joseph’s Court when he saw a Fiat 500 car which he knew belonged to Ireland.

“He saw Ireland in the vehicle who then put his finger up towards him. He believes Ireland is violent and unpredictable and was left in fear for his family due to the previous incident.”

Mr Trotter told police that Ireland had also hurled foul-mouthed abuse at him during the incident, but the defendant admitted the breach on the basis he had only made the rude gesture.

Christopher Brown, defending, said Ireland had been ‘provoked’ by Mr Trotter peering into his car.

Mr Brown said: “What happended in the past has happened in the past. Mr Ireland’s life has changed considerably due to the onset of MS.

“On the day in question, he says his neighbour Michael Trotter was staring directly into his car at very close proximity.

“He instinctively stuck his finger up to indicate his displeasure at his unwanted presence.

“He realise he shouldn’t have done it, but there was provocation there.

“He accepts in strict terms he has breached the restraining order.”

Irene Lavender, chair of the magistrates, said; “This is a single breach due to a minimal contact.

“This brings it down from a community order to a fine.”

Ireland was fined £180 and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £30 victim surcharge.

The indefinite restraining order remains in place.