Pensioner fined for ‘vile’ racist abuse following row over fences and parking

A woman has been fined in court after a neighbourhood parking dispute escalated to a torrent of verbal racist abuse.

Gillian Harrison, 65, became involved in a property boundary war with her neighbour, as they battled over fencing and parking between their homes in Hartlepool, reports Teesside Live.

Her male neighbour submitted a planning application to erect a fence between the months of January and April 2020, sparking Harrison to "target" him with "vile" racist namecalling.

The animosity between the pair was already well established for some time before the pensioner was overheard racially abusing her neighbour, Teesside Magistrates' Court heard. The fencing situation only furthered tensions between them.

According to the charge, Harrison told her neighbour to "go back to his own country", and alleged that everyone in the street 'hated' him, and that if he was laid in the gutter, no one would pick him up.

Harrison, of Jutland Road in Hartlepool, County Durham, was visibly upset in court, but spoke to confirm her name and address.

She entered a guilty plea to racially aggravated harassment.

A victim impact statement that was read in court said: "I have a four-year-old son and was concerned to let him out in the back garden in case he heard the abuse. I just want to live a peaceful life."

Harrison's defence said she had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty straight away and that there have been no further issues since 2020.

District Judge Helen Cousins said: "This was disgraceful behaviour which I'm disgusted by, I hope you are ashamed.

"However, you did admit the offence and it's been hanging over your heard for two years. I'm told there have been no more issues."

Harrison was given a fine of £200, ordered to pay £100 compensation, £85 court costs and £34 to fund victim services.

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