Sutton man grabbed knife in “neighbour from hell” stand-off with police

Court latest
Court latest

A Sutton man grabbed a kitchen knife when police were called to arrest his wife after she threatened to kill their next-door neighbour, a court heard.

John Harvey’s wife warned police call handlers “if they didn’t get there soon she would stab the neighbour and burn his house,” said prosecutor Donna Fawcett.

When two officers arrived at Grange Farm Close to arrest her, Harvey became aggressive and said: “He has been abusing her for a year now and you’re taking her away.”

In the kitchen, Harvey snatched a knife from a knife block and said: “I am going to f****** kill him.”

His right wrist was grabbed and he was disarmed. A WPC sustained a one centimeter cut to her hand.

In police interview, Harvey said “it wasn’t his intention to cause any harm”, said Ms Fawcett.

“He didn’t believe anyone was listening to the issues he and his wife were having with their neighbour.”

Debra Bell, mitigating, said the couple had lived on Grange Farm Close for 14 years, and had the misfortune to “live next door to a gentleman who has put them through absolute hell.”

She said the neighbour’s abuse included calling his wife names, playing loud music, and using obscene language, adding “it has gotten worse over the last 13 months.”

References from other neighbours confirming this were handed to the bench.

On the day in question Mrs Harvey had returned home from the crematorium, having paid her respects to her mother, who died in August last year.

“Her neighbour called her obscene names that caused her to call the police,” said Ms Bell.

“She told the call handler she was going to kill him and burn his house down. She was just venting her levels of frustration.

“Officers were dispatched to arrest Mrs Harvey for threats to kill the neighbour.

“When the two officers arrived with a riot van, Mrs Harvey was hysterical.”

She was followed into the kitchen where her husband grabbed the knife.

“He was disarmed pretty quickly, within seconds,” Ms Bell added. “He says he is not a violent man. It is against 13 months of behaviour from his neighbour.”

Probation officer Tracey Jefferson said Harvey had installed CCTV to record the abuse from his neighbour, and the council had imposed a prevention order.

“He is now compiling a diary of incidents and last night he had to contact the police again,” she said.

“Looking back he thinks it was to distract attention from his wife who was struggling with an officer.

“He doesn’t want to put him or his wife in a position like this again.”

Harvey, 52, admitted affray when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to carry out ten rehabilitation activity days.

He must pay £85 court costs, a £115 goverment surcharge and £50 compensation to the injured officer.

He was warned not to get involved in any further incidents with his neighbour.