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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Carlisle woman denies tongs attack at barbecue

A mother has gone on trial accused of attacking her neighbour with a pair of tongs during a row over a barbecue in their shared yard.

Lisa Scott, 45, has pleaded not guilty to an allegation of assaulting her neighbour Mark Connolly causing him actual bodily harm.

At Carlisle Crown Court, prosecutor David Polglase said the defendant and her alleged victim live in houses in Denton Holme, Carlisle, which share a rear yard.

At the time of the incident last year, said Mr Polglase, Scott lived East Dale Street, and Mr Connolly in neighbouring Denton Street.

Shortly after 4pm, on July 15, Mr Connolly spoke to the defendant’s two children in the yard and everything was fine, the court heard.

Mr Polglase said: “A barbecue appears to have been started by Mrs Scott in the yard and Mr Connolly said the defendant came out and was angry towards him. She was inquiring whether he moved her barbecue, and pointing her finger towards him.

“There was an argument.”

A short time later, the jury was told, Scott “lashed out” at Mr Connolly with the barbecue tongs, causing a scratch injury on his face.

It later emerged that the defendant told police she feared Mr Connolly was about to throw the lit barbecue over the yard wall, putting her children at risk of injury.

In his evidence, Mr Connolly said Scott was “bad tempered” as she asked if he had moved the barbecue.

He told her he never touched the barbecue.

Mr Connolly accepted telling her he would call the police if she herself did not move the barbecue from his side of the yard.

This was because that part of the yard was where he normally put out his rubbish.

Asked what happened after he had objected to the position of the barbecue, he replied: “I felt a sharp pain on my face. It was the barbecue tongs.”

Questioned by Mark Shepherd, for Scott, he denied being obsessed by the issue of who was allowed use of what he saw as his part of the yard.

He denied being aggressive towards housing officials about a workman who was sent against his wishes to his property last year.

Mr Shepherd said: “I suggest that is how you respond if you feel your territory if threatened in some way.”

Mr Connolly replied: “No.”

He said he would have been happy for Scott to have a barbecue in the yard if she had asked him first.

He also said he did not pick up the lit barbecue in a way that suggested he would throw it over the wall, behind which children were playing.

In her evidence, Scott insisted she was neither angry or upset but she said she had been concerned for her children’s safety.

She said: “I wasn’t there for an argument.

“I walked away from him and he followed me.

“ He went to throw it [the barbecue] over the wall. He said if I didn’t move it off his property he would. He picked it up with two hands.”

Mr Polglase said: “This was not in any shape or form you trying to protect your children. You overrected and assaulted him.” Scott replied: “No. I didn’t overreact. No.”

She accepted lashing out with the tongs because she wanted him to let go of the barbecue to protect the children but she had no intention to cause Mr Connolly injury, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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