Man who drives lawn mower accused of verbal abuse

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A man who travels about on a lawn mower has allegedly subjected his elderly neighbour to drink-fuelled verbal abuse every week for the last eight years, the High Court heard on Thursday.

Prosecutors claimed Daniel Blaney “shouted and roared” threats at his cousin’s 82-year-old wife as part of a long-running dispute at their homes on the Ardmore Road in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

The 60-year-old accused, who is said to have mobility problems, was arrested after alleged victim Kathleen Blaney filmed his latest suspected tirade on her iPad.

A judge was told that during the incident on December 1 last year he shouted: “I’m going to end you Kathleen.”

Police called to the scene discovered him lying in a prone or “sniper” position in his front garden, the court heard.

It was claimed that after he spotted officers he jumped back up and onto a disability frame.

Blaney faces charges of harassment and threats to kill over the incident.

Details emerged as he was granted a bail variation to move back to his home address facing the alleged victim’s property.

According to prosecution counsel the animosity may stem from property being erected in a back garden.

She told the court Mrs Blaney claims the accused has targeted her for verbal abuse after he starts drinking every Sunday for the last eight years.

He appears to have no problem with his 81-year-old cousin to whom she is married.

When confronted by police he allegedly refused to go with them at first.

Later he admitted in interview to having intentionally annoyed Mrs Blaney but claimed she had done the same to him, the court was told.

She previously threw a bucket of water over him, he alleged.

Setting out Blaney’s reasons for wanting to move back home, defence barrister Damien Halleron said his client’s house has been specially modified for his mobility issues.

Mr Justice Weir also heard how the accused doesn’t drive, but instead uses a ride-on lawn mower to get around.

According to the prosecution lawyer he is believed to cover distances of up to half-a-mile on the form of transport.

“Police have information he’s sometimes been driving about on a lawn mower,” she added.

The judge replied: “Gosh, I hope the blades aren’t going around at the same time.”

Granting the bail variation, he banned the accused from drinking or making any attempt to speak to, shout at or otherwise molest or annoy Kathleen Blaney.

Mr Justice Weir also suggested Blaney, who was not present in court, should consider an alternative method of getting around.

“I do think if he’s going about on the lawn mower he should think about getting himself a proper mobility scooter,” the judge recommended.

“I don’t think going about on a lawn mower is a suitable thing, especially if he’s a man who is sometimes (partial) to over-imbibing.”