A ROW between neighbours over a skip turned violent as a 42-year-old Aspatria man attacked his neighbour, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly punching him.

Carl Ward and his 69-year-old victim were experiencing “ongoing difficulties,” Carlisle Crown Court heard. The defendant pleaded guilty to an actual bodily harm assault, committed on the morning of June 28 last year.

Prosecutor Brendan Burke outlined the facts. He said Ward and the man he attacked are neighbours.

Just after 8am on the day of the attack, the victim said he asked the defendant’s girlfriend if Ward he would be prepared to move a skip from the front of his house because he was expecting a delivery the following day.

The woman sent a text back to the man, saying that Ward was on his way home and the defendant duly arrived, prompting his neighbour to walk across to talk to him.

“He asked Mr Ward what was happening with the skip,” said Mr Burke. The defendant’s reply was: “It’s staying there until I’m finished with it.”

The neighbour told him he was due to have a fence delivered, prompting Ward to reply that he did not want a fence to be erected “on his land.”

The pensioner said he tried to reason with Ward, but he regarded the defendant’s behaviour as confrontational. At one point, Ward picked up a brick and threw it over the gardens.

“Then Mr Ward grabbed hold [of his neighbour] by his arms and swung him, knocking him off balance and causing him to fall to the ground and on to his back,” said Mr Burke.

“Mr Ward then punched [the victim], placed his knee on his chest, and punched him four times to the face.”

The victim's wife then appeared, telling Ward to stop the violence. The pensioner suffered a cut to his face and head and a black eye.

The court was shown CCTV of the incident, which showed Ward throwing away the victim’s cap and his car keys. In a victim statement, the pensioner said what happened had left him worried for his safety.

His wife was also now struggling to sleep and fearful of Ward entering their property.

“I feel physically drained and worn out,” she said, adding that she felt constantly stressed and feared she would suffer a heart attack. The couple had also have CCTV installed and no longer wanted to live in their home.

They had also stopped using their garden to ensure they do not encounter Ward, of Arkleby Road, Aspatria. They felt trapped, like prisoners in their own home.

The defendant’s record includes previous offences of violence, including another actual bodily harm assault in 2004, and a wounding offence in 2016, the court heard.

Marion Weir, defending, said Ward accepted that he should not have behaved as he did but the context included what was a “longstanding” neighbours dispute.

The court was also shown Ward’s home CCTV, which showed his neighbours appearing to imitate his walk on camera making rude gestures towards the camera.

This happened after the assault.

“Mr Ward does express genuine remorse,” said Miss Weir. “He’s had his house valued and he has an interested buyer. He recognises that for his own wellbeing he needs to remove himself from the situation.”

A hard worker in full-time employment, Ward intended to keep himself to himself.

Judge Michael Fanning said he regarded the attack as a “persistent” assault, committed by Ward, a more powerful man than his much older victim.

He said he recognised that there had been some provocation, and “mutual finger-pointing,” against the background of a dispute.

But Judge Fanning said the offence deserved prison, but he recognised also that there would be a detrimental effect on the people who depended on Ward if that happened. He imposed 30 weeks jail but suspended the sentence for 12 months.

The sentence includes 140 hours of unpaid work.