Barking dogs prompt gun threats

PUBLISHED: 15:06 14 September 2011

Archant

Man was at the end of his tether when he left phone messages.

A man ‘at the end of his tether’ told magistrates he was going to hang himself when they ordered him to pay court costs of £250 for threatening to shoot his neighbours and their dogs.

Andrew Murray, of Brookside, Broadhembury, was found guilty at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court on Monday of sending false messages to cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety.

The 53-year-old left four answer machine messages for staff at East Devon District Council and made a call to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s switchboard complaining about his neighbour’s dogs barking.

In the recorded messages, left on March 29, Murray said: ‘I’ll get a gun and I’ll shoot the b******. If you don’t do anything about it, then I will do something about it.”

In another message, he said : “I’ll get a gun and shoot the dogs and save a bullet for the muppet who lives there.”

He also made a call to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s switchboard, saying: “I’ll get a bloody gun and shoot the b*******. It’s been going on for months and months. The council don’t do anything – nobody has done anything. If (East) Devon District Council does not do anything, I’ll do something. I’ll get a gun and shoot the b******’.

In one of the messages, he was recorded saying “I’ll clout the dogs and clout anyone else that gets in my way”.

Prior to the incident, Murray had made numerous complaints to the district council regarding the dogs barking and also claimed he was attacked by one of the dogs.

Witnesses from East Devon District Council told the court they were concerned by the messages left by Murray and had consulted a solicitor before phoning the police.

One of the witnesses said this was unusual behaviour for the defendant, who, up until that point, had not been rude or aggressive.

Murray said: “I just wanted someone to do something.

“I can’t recall what I said, I just wanted to show my frustration.

“I just said anything to try and get them to do something. For three years I have not been able to sleep.

“I did it to get a reaction. I was at the end of my tether.

“It is just a turn of phrase. I wanted to get something done.”

Witnesses for the defence told the bench that there was a problem with the dogs barking.

Warren Robinson, defending, said “He used a phrase he shouldn’t have used. He didn’t expect them to believe he was going to shoot any dog or person. He did not have a gun.”

The court heard Murray, who is registered disabled, has problems sleeping due to a number of medical conditions and has to using breathing apparatus to help him sleep. He also takes a number of medications, which he explained can make him tired. The chairman of the magistrates, Charles Watton, said: “We find that the calls Mr Murray made did cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety to those individuals and for those reasons we are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt and find you guilty. We understand your sheer frustration and that you have suffered an extended period of nuisance caused by your neighbour’s dogs and your perception of a lack of appropriate response from the local authority.

“For these offences we are making a conditional discharge for nine months.”

Murray was also ordered to pay costs of £250.

On hearing this news, Murray started shouting and swearing at the magistrates and stated: “I am not paying. I will go and hang myself.

“I am the victim.” A man ‘at the end of his tether’ told magistrates he was going to hang himself when they ordered him to pay court costs of £250 for threatening to shoot his neighbours and their dogs.

Andrew Murray, of Brookside, Broadhembury, was found guilty at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court on Monday of sending false messages to cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety.

The 53-year-old left four answer machine messages for staff at East Devon District Council and made a call to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s switchboard complaining about his neighbour’s dogs barking.

In the recorded messages, left on March 29, Murray said: ‘I’ll get a gun and I’ll shoot the b******. If you don’t do anything about it, then I will do something about it.”

In another message, he said : “I’ll get a gun and shoot the dogs and save a bullet for the muppet who lives there.”

He also made a call to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s switchboard, saying: “I’ll get a bloody gun and shoot the b*******. It’s been going on for months and months. The council don’t do anything – nobody has done anything. If (East) Devon District Council does not do anything, I’ll do something. I’ll get a gun and shoot the b******’.

In one of the messages, he was recorded saying “I’ll clout the dogs and clout anyone else that gets in my way”.

Prior to the incident, Murray had made numerous complaints to the district council regarding the dogs barking and also claimed he was attacked by one of the dogs.

Witnesses from East Devon District Council told the court they were concerned by the messages left by Murray and had consulted a solicitor before phoning the police.

One of the witnesses said this was unusual behaviour for the defendant, who, up until that point, had not been rude or aggressive.

Murray said: “I just wanted someone to do something.

“I can’t recall what I said, I just wanted to show my frustration.

“I just said anything to try and get them to do something. For three years I have not been able to sleep.

“I did it to get a reaction. I was at the end of my tether.

“It is just a turn of phrase. I wanted to get something done.”

Witnesses for the defence told the bench that there was a problem with the dogs barking.

Warren Robinson, defending, said “He used a phrase he shouldn’t have used. He didn’t expect them to believe he was going to shoot any dog or person. He did not have a gun.”

The court heard Murray, who is registered disabled, has problems sleeping due to a number of medical conditions and has to using breathing apparatus to help him sleep. He also takes a number of medications, which he explained can make him tired. The chairman of the magistrates, Charles Watton, said: “We find that the calls Mr Murray made did cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety to those individuals and for those reasons we are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt and find you guilty. We understand your sheer frustration and that you have suffered an extended period of nuisance caused by your neighbour’s dogs and your perception of a lack of appropriate response from the local authority.

“For these offences we are making a conditional discharge for nine months.”

Murray was also ordered to pay costs of £250.

On hearing this news, Murray started shouting and swearing at the magistrates and stated: “I am not paying. I will go and hang myself.

“I am the victim.”


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