DEFIANT grandmother Mary Teale – who stood up against her ‘nightmare’ neighbours – is celebrating a “marvellous” victory after a judge ordered their eviction.
Mrs Teale, 74, who lives on the Half Acres estate in Castleford, endured 18 months of misery caused by couple Samantha Walker and Daniel Bailey.
A judge at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court heard last week that Mrs Teale was too scared to leave her home to take her disabled sister shopping or allow her granddaughter to play in the garden because of trouble at Walker and Bailey’s flat in Mickle Court, off Temple Street.
The court heard the couple were addicted to heroin and Mrs Teale suspected drug dealing and the selling of stolen goods was being carried out at the flat.
Mrs Teale told the court Walker, 29, and Bailey, 38, used abusive language on the estate, and that cars would pull up outside the couple’s flat 24 hours a day.
During one incident pupils at nearby Half Acres Primary School had to be kept inside during their playtime after a “brawl” broke out in the couple’s garden.
Police boarded up Walker and Bailey’s flat last week after district judge David Scanlon granted a closure order applied for by Wakefield Council.
Private landlords Northern Guinness Counties (GNC) received ten letters of complaint about the couple’s behaviour.
Mrs Teale, a grandmother-of-five, was the only resident prepared to give evidence in court. She had CCTV installed in her home to help police and the council gather evidence and had regular meetings with GNC’s anti-social behaviour team.
After the hearing, Mrs Teale said she was “extremely relieved” to hear Judge Scanlon had ordered the couple’s eviction.
She added: “It is a marvellous result, I am so happy that it is over and I will be able to sleep peacefully in my bed.
“Those two have caused problems from the day they moved in.
“I was determined to fight for my rights and protect the more vulnerable people in the neighbourhood such as the elderly residents and the young pupils at the school.
“It has been a nightmare and now we can finally celebrate but even if we hadn’t succeeded, I would have kept on fighting until they were gone.
“I really want to thank everyone who has helped behind the scenes over the last two years, especially the police who came out every single time I called them, I couldn’t have done it without their help.”
As well as the closure order, the couple were handed two-year anti-social behaviour orders. They are banned from entering the Half Acres area of Castleford and from causing intimidation, alarm or distress.
Judge Scanlon said there was “overwhelming evidence of disorderly behaviour on a persistent basis.” He added: “I couldn’t say beyond reasonable doubt that you were dealing drugs or selling stolen property.”
Giving evidence, Walker claimed Mrs Teale had a “vendetta” against the couple.
Mark Coupland, GNC’s head of operations, said: “The judgement demonstrates the vital importance of people being prepared to come forward as witnesses and provide the court with the evidence it needs to take decisive action and we would like to sincerely thank those who been brave enough to do this.”