Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Police hunt for nightmare neighbour who made lives hell in Withywood

POLICE are trying to track down a nightmare neighbour who repeatedly breached injunctions by harassing people.

Barry Collins, who is believed to be in Spain, made a pleasant life "impossible" for people living near him in Bishport Avenue, Withywood.

If and when he is arrested, the 68-year-old faces eviction from his flat by Bristol City Council.

Collins' primary victim is Timothy Wrigley, who built up a bank of evidence against him.

He told The Post: "He's made living here impossible.

"I've basically become a recluse – it's been very stressful. I have to make a cup of tea or even my dinner in the dark because he's always staring through the kitchen window."

But staring was the least of Mr Wrigley's worries. The trouble started more than two years ago after Collins burnt a pile of meat in his back garden, causing foul-smelling smoke to be blown into neighbours' gardens and flats.

After the council warned him, Collins phoned Mr Wrigley, blamed him for reporting him, and the tension escalated from there.

Mr Wrigley, 50, said: "I gave him my number when he first moved in and that was a fatal mistake. He would just keep ringing me and he never stopped.

"I just tried to ignore him and hope he would go away but he just kept phoning me."

Collins even phoned Mr Wrigley when he was at his father John's funeral in July.

Mr Wrigley's complaints included threats of violence, threats to poison his old Jack Russell called "JD" and Collins would also make regular "cut-throat" gestures towards him.

Mr Wrigley used a CCTV camera set up in his kitchen to catch Collins throwing out-of-date meat and cheese into his garden and he found out from another neighbour that Collins had urinated on his path.

Mr Wrigley said the stress of the harassment caused him to lose 2st, have an eye infection and contributed to depression.

Collins also threatened to poison another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, cut her garden fence, threatened to poison her dog, threw meat into her garden and left a fish head on her window sill.

Collins signed an acceptable behaviour contract in March, but he breached it within two days.

In the autumn, he was given notice of an injunction banning him from causing harassment, alarm or distress to anyone in Bishport Avenue, and also the former estate manager for the council, Aggi Wise.

But within nine minutes he was on the phone to Mr Wrigley swearing and threatening: "I owe you one."

The next day he threw a tin of corned beef at Mr Wrigley's front door – an act which was caught on CCTV.

After the breaches racked up, Collins was summoned to the magistrates' court.

But a few days before he was due to contest a contempt of court charge he called Mr Wrigley from a Spanish phone number. Not only did he fail to appear at court, he has not been seen by Mr Wrigley nor his other close neighbours since.

A district judge found him guilty of six breaches of the injunction and imposed a two-week jail sentence, but as Collins was not in court a warrant was issued for his arrest. He must also pay the council's costs of £1,025 within 28 days.

The city council confirmed that it would take "action against his tenancy" in due course.

The council's anti-social behavioural manager Stuart Pattison said: "Mr Collins behaviour was totally unacceptable and after making every effort to get him to change his behaviour we took action to protect the neighbours from further harassment."

Mr Wrigley has recently been moved by the council to a flat in central Bristol.

He added: "I am glad, but I doubt Barry will stop, even when I'm gone."

Police hunt for nightmare neighbour who made lives hell in Withywood

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