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£100k damages writ over hell neighbour
8:00am Friday 9th March 2012 in Basildon
A HOMEOWNER who claims he was hoodwinked into buying a property next to a neighbour from hell has launched a legal battle for £100,000 compensation.
Kevin Hurst bought a semi-detached house in Wickford, next to Dominic McGrath, a piano teacher who has been jailed for harassing neighbours, and given a ten-year antisocial behaviour order.
Now Mr Hurst, who paid £179,000 for the house, in Melville Drive, in July 2008, is suing previous owners Stuart and Caroline Wilson for damages of £100,000.
Mr Hurst claims Mrs Wilson told him Mr McGrath was an old man who tended to keep himself to himself.
In legal forms, the Wilsons claimed there had been no problems or disputes with neighbours, and they had not had any negotiations or discussions with any neighbours or authorities which affected the house in any way.
But Mr McGrath was unfriendly, with a history of extreme antisocial behaviour, and subjected the Wilsons and other residents to sustained, unpleasant antisocial behaviour, the writ says.
Mr Wilson, now of Bliss Close, Witham, had given evidence against Mr McGrath when he stood trial for harassing neighbours in April 2007, and the couple had also complained to the police about his behaviour, and had received letters from the police about him.
They had also had numerous discussions with neighbours in Melville Road about his behaviour.
Mr Hurst said if he had known about Mr McGrath, he would not have bought the house, which he now cannot sell.
Mr McGrath has made the lives of him and his wife, Kerry, a misery, and caused them serious and prolonged upset, distress and anxiety, he added.
The writ says: “Put simply, they have found themselves with a ‘neighbour from hell’.”
Mr McGrath has blocked their drive with pots, sang and played loud music, and has frequently worn his intimidating balaclava.
Mr Hurst said his home is worth £94,500 instead of the £180,000 it should be worth, and is demanding the difference from the Wilsons.
Mr McGrath was jailed for six months at Basildon Crown Court in June 2011 for using threatening or intimidating behaviour, and had his mental health treatment extended.