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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

St Mary's Bay pensioner James Courtney beaten with wheel brace by neighbour Andrew Dixon in dispute over parking

21 February 2014
by Paul Hooper

A pensioner has told how he was attacked by a neighbour wielding a wheel brace in a feud over a parking space.

The attack left 69-year-old James Courtney needing stitches to a head wound after he was struck at least three times by Andrew Dixon, who said he would "teach him a lesson", Canterbury Crown Court heard.

Now lorry driver Dixon, 57, is facing a jail sentence for the assault in Taylor Close, St Mary's Bay.

James Courtney was attacked by his neighbour

James Courtney was attacked by his neighbour

Retired car mechanic Mr Courtney said: "I called him a coward. He lifted the bar above his head and smashed it on top of my head – that blow inflicted the worst injury."

Dixon drove away after the attack, still with blood on his trousers, the jury heard.

Now lorry driver Andrew Dixon, 57, is facing a jail sentence for the attack last March, which left 69-year-old James Courtney needing stitches to a wound.

"I've just about had enough of you and I'm going to teach you a lesson..." - what lorry driver Andrew Dixon told pensioner James Courtney

Dixon had denied wounding with intent and was acquitted of that charge. But a jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of unlawful wounding.

Prosecutor Iestyn Morgan told how the two men had fallen out previously over parking, which had involved the police being called.

"Mr Courtney said that he was walking his dog along the street, walked past the open door of Dixon's car and shut it as he went past, so he could get along the pavement.

"Mr Courtney said that Dixon reacted badly to that, got out of his car and threatened him, told him not to do that again and then Mr Courtney saw that his neighbour was carrying an extended chrome bar.

"Dixon then shouted: 'I've had enough of you'. And then Mr Courtney felt a strong impact on the back of his head. He felt pain and turned around and tried to protect himself."

The home of James Courtney in Taylor Close, St Mary's Bay

The home of James Courtney in Taylor Close, St Mary's Bay

Mr Courtney told the jury he was struck "at least another three times", leaving him nursing head injuries and needing stitches.

Dixon told him: "I've just about had enough of you and I'm going to teach you a lesson".

Mr Courtney said he saw Dixon holding an extending wheel brace and hit him with it in the attack last March.

He added: "I completely lost my balance and was tumbling down to the floor. He then hit me over the head with the iron bar."

Dixon claimed he was about to drive to collect his wife who was working when Mr Courtney had shut the car door on him.

He claimed he had been threatened by his neighbour with a metal bar and that led him to disarm Mr Courtney and strike back.

Mr Courtney later called the police and the victim needed eight stitches to his head wound.

Wheel brace attacker Andrew Dixon's home in St Mary's Bay

Wheel brace attacker Andrew Dixon's home in St Mary's Bay

Dixon was remanded in custody while reports are prepared for his sentencing hearing later this year.

Mr Courtney faces the prospect of his attacker returning to his neighbourhood, but cannot move out to avoid him.

He and his wife 67-year-old wife Brenda cannot leave their bungalow because she is bed-ridden with MS.

He said: "It is a major relief that we have got to a conviction, but I don't know what will happen when he comes back. After this my wife is also concerned for her own safety."

Mr Courtney said he found the attack particularly shocking because he had believed he had lived in a peaceful area.

He said: "Before this the most devastating crime around here was a child riding his bike without lights."

Victim James Courtney outside his home

Victim James Courtney outside his home

Mr Courtney had moved to the bungalow 12 years ago in preparation for his and his wife's retirement.

He said: "It was particularly shocking to be attacked like that. I had no idea he was capable of it. No doubt he saw me as a hate figure."

Mr Courtney said Dixon had moved to the bungalow across the road four years ago and at first the two men were reasonably friendly. But eventually Dixon would raise objections to people parking outside his property.

Once Mr Courtney had to park there because carers visiting his wife had to take up spaces on his driveway. Dixon called police and a PCSO arrived. But the carers moved on so Mr Courtney was soon able to use his own spaces.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

Barristers will also go on strike at Canterbury Crown Court

Mr Courtney was attacked by Dixon with a wheel brace on March 30 last year.

"After I was hit there was so much blood in my face I couldn't read my mobile phone to call for help. Blood was pouring out. I got inside my house to try to clean myself, before my wife called for help."

Mr Courtney said he has recovered overall, but still has one dent in his head.

He said he is not afraid of Dixon, but realises the traumatic experience affected parts of his way of life.

He said: "I couldn't take out the dog for a walk any more, so I have lost it. I found it a better home.

"I could not have imagined anyone becoming so uncontrollable like Dixon. It was all petty stuff."


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