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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Neighbours' feud boiled over in clash over parking, Cumbrian court told

A feud between neighbours boiled over when a landlord confronted a cafe owner for parking outside his pub.

Pheasant Inn photo
The Pheasant Inn

A court heard how there was a history of bad feeling between the couple who run the Pheasant Inn on Crosthwaite Road, in Keswick, and Kieron Graham who runs the Filling Station Cafe opposite.

It stemmed from parking disputes, and boiled over when John Barrass, 59, whose wife Catherine runs the pub, admitted going to the filling station after Mr Graham parked his van under the pub’s bedroom window.

Barrass claimed that he had been woken by an engine revving up and went outside to find Graham’s van. He said that he and his wife had been working until 1am, adding he believed Mr Graham had deliberately parked there on the otherwise empty street to provoke him.

But the cafe owner, who denied revving his engine, claimed he had used the first available space while he unloaded stock. He added it was a public highway with no parking restrictions.

Alison Howey, prosecuting at Workington Magistrates’ Court, said Barrass had come into the filling station shouting and swearing before pushing Mr Graham. But Barrass said the cafe-owner had walked into his upraised hands as he backed towards the door.

“I didn’t push him at all. He was ushering me out, towering over me,” he said. “All I did was put my hands up.”

Giving evidence during a two-hour trial yesterday, Mr Graham said he had remained calm throughout the incident, and two of his employees agreed. But Barrass said: “He was screaming at me ‘Get out of my establishment’ and he’s a big bloke.”

Magistrates said they accepted Barrass had been provoked but found him guilty of common assault - which he denied – because he had touched Mr Graham.

Barrass also claimed the cafe-owner had deliberately blocked in pub customers on previous occasions, while Mr Graham said customers from the Pheasant Inn had been parking in spaces reserved for cafe visitors.

Barrass was given a conditional discharge for 12 months, and ordered to pay £620 costs and a victim surcharge of £15.

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