Dog bark dispute sparked neighbour attack in Forest Town

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

A 62-year-old Mansfield man grabbed his neighbour by the neck and punched his face and body after receiving a letter of complaint about his dog’s barking, a court has heard.

Philip Charles Mulholland, 62, of Laurel Avenue, Forest Town, admitted assault and threatening and abusive behaviour when he appeared before magistrates in Mansfield.

The court heard that Mulholland’s neighbour had ongoing issues about the defendant’s dog barking and complained to the council about it.

Chloe Griggs, prosecuting, said: “On June 3 the defendant was waiting for him his garden, shouting abuse and waving a letter he had received from the council.

“He shouted: ‘You b******! You made a complaint you lying b******!’

“The victim went inside, fearing for his safety. There was a banging on his front door. He said it was so heavy he thought it was going to break.

“When he answered the defendant asked him outside for a fight.

“The defendant said: ‘I am going to kill you

“Mr Mulholland grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. His neighbour fell over and hit his head on a door. He put him in a headlock and punched him in the face and body.

“The victim suffers with asthma and was struggling to breathe. He pleaded for his spray.

“He was frantic and felt he was about to lose consciousness.

Mulholland shouted: “You’re going to die. I don’t care if I die but you’re going to die you English b******.’

“Neighbours had to come over and pull him away. He kept trying to get back into the victim’s house.

“The defendant shouted: ‘I am going to kill him. I am willing to go to prison for love.’”

Miss Griggs said the victim had ‘never been so scared and thought he was going to die.’

Melanie Hoffman, mitigating, said: “Mr Mulholland takes full responsibility. He has suffered quite severely with his mental health.

“To try and get over some of his issues he got a dog. However, the dog has been barking quite a lot.”

She said Mulholland had taken steps to deal with the dog’s barking by taking it to different trainers and using special collars.

She said he had worked in a high-pressure environment as a mining engineer and had suffered a lot of trauma, including the recent deaths of two of his sisters and a grandchild.

“On the day in question he had been to hospital,” she said. “He tells me he didn’t want to live anymore. He was worried about what he might do to himself.

“He was discharged and sent home. He accepts that he turned to alcohol. He was feeling particularly depressed.

“He has punished himself for the way he has behaved.”

Ms Hoffman said he was now working with a community psychiatric nurse and was tackling his heavy drinking.

Magistrates said the assault warranted a custodial sentence because it ‘caused injury and real fear including restricting the victim’s breathing.’

However, Mulholland was given an 18-week sentence, suspended for 12 months. A restraining order, preventing him from entering his neighbour’s property, was made for 12 months.

He was ordered to pay £350 compensation.