Neighbour from hell made man's life a misery in campaign of harassment

‘Neighbour from hell’ made man’s life a misery with threats to burn down his house, blasting music… and even breaking wind so loudly it could be heard through the walls

  • Father Edward Riley admitted harassment and was given a suspended sentence

A ‘neighbour from hell’ made a man’s life a misery with his campaign of harassment which included threats to burn down his house – and  breaking wind so loudly it could be heard through the walls.  

Father-of-one Edward Riley, 44, was reported to police after he subjected Simon Joynson, to months of abusive and disruptive behaviour in early 2022.

He threatened Mr Joynson on several occasions, saying he would burn his house down and adding: ‘I’ll put your f*****g head through the floor.’

Landscape gardener Riley would  break wind and burp loudly through their adjoining wall, blocked doors and shone torches in his neighbour’s face whenever the pair came face to face. 

He accompanied his abusive behaviour with the constant sounds of loud music,  emanating from the adjoining semi-detached house in Cheadle, near Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Edward Riley was branded the ‘proverbial neighbour from hell’ during sentencing

In his statement, Mr Joynson said: ‘I live in constant fear that he will burn the house down, I know what he’s capable of. He’s only 6 feet away from me at all times. 

‘He has pushed me to the edge, and no one has the right to harass me like this. He’s banging, shouting and raving all the time.’

He added: ‘Eddie is always getting away with his bad behaviour and he does whatever he says he will do in his words. I can’t keep living like this. It’s all too much and my mental health is in the bin.’

At Stockport Magistrates Court, Riley was sentenced to 24-weeks jail suspended for 12 months after he admitted harassment. 

He must also complete 15 rehabilitation activity days and pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £128.

Hannah Nicholls, prosecuting, said: ‘The parties became neighbours when the defendant moved in around June 2021 and there were problems from the outset. The period that this charge covers is from the 1st December 2021 to the 20th of April 2022; however, the complainant has told me of disruptive behaviour that predated this.

‘The defendant was out of the building for long periods of time, but whenever he was in he would continually blast loud music and make a general disturbance, despite being told not to. On one instance, when the complainant told him to turn it down from out of the window, the defendant took a high-powered torch and purposefully shone it in his face.

‘On another instance, he purposefully blocked the door into the communal area of the building they were living in. When the complainant asked him to move the blocking item, he got aggressive and got his phone out and started to take pictures of him.

Riley was sentenced to 24-weeks jail suspended for 12 months after he admitted harassment

 ‘When the complainant told him to stop taking pictures, the defendant said, come at me then. The complainant then went into his kitchen with his other neighbours and broke down in tears.’

She continued: ‘On the 22nd of December, when the complainant came home from work, the pair got in another argument as he was taking some cardboard to the communal bins.

‘This argument was the result of the defendant placing an old mattress near the bins, which the complainant said could not be placed there for safety reasons issued by the council. In response, the defendant said I’ll drop something on your head and burn your house down.

‘He went back inside and began to cough loudly. The complainant could also hear him burping and farting loudly through the walls.

Read more: ‘Raver’ grandmother is sued by neighbour for ‘blasting 90s dance tracks at 2am’

‘The defendant then told the complainant to get away from my f******g house, or I’ll put your head through the f******g floor. This argument only ended after the neighbours intervened.

‘On the 19th of April, the complaint was again returning from work when he saw that a communal door they both used had a sign on it that said it had been alarmed. He tried to open it and then went round to use the side door to get into the building. When he was inside, he heard something fall and set the alarms off.

‘This caused the defendant to accuse the complainant of wanting to enter his property without him knowing. The defendant then went back into his property and made loud banging and shouting noises.’

The court heard Mr Joynson has since moved to another property. 

Riley has 19 previous offences on his record, the majority of which involve breaches of restraining orders against his ex partner, who he fathered a child with.

In mitigation, Riley’s lawyer Helen White said: ‘There are always two sides to every story. The complainant has certainly done some of the provocation, but the defendant accepts that he simply went too far. His behaviour crossed the line.

‘The defendant has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and PTSD and was not on medication at the time of the incidents. He is now taking medication and is making improvements with his mental health.

‘Thanks to his work with probation, he has now got regular access to his son, and this has really helped him to change his behaviour. There has not been any other interference with the complainant since the last incident and presents a low risk of harm.’

In sentencing, JP Walter Barrett told Riley: ‘You really are the proverbial neighbour from hell. I know you have had some trouble with your mental health, but you have a terrible record. It’s horrendous. The reason we are not sending you to jail is because you have been taking your medication and have started to see your child again.’

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