|Innocent: David Pears|
Former Harlequins fly-half David Pears, 49, now an equities trader, admits he damaged the metal fence when pushing it back to the boundary behind his £1m Twickenham home.
Former Detective Chief Inspector William Kerans, 59, who had just paid £1500 for the fence, called 999 at 11pm on a hot night last summer and his neighbour was arrested.
However, Pears, of The Green was acquitted last week of causing criminal damage on July 7 after magistrates decided he did not intend to damage the fence he insisted was nine inches over his boundary.
“There was this sinister loud, repeated banging of an object coming into contact with metal,” Mr. Kerans, of neighbouring Albion Road told Wimbledon Magistrates Court.
“It was clear to me my wife was terrified, she was in a fragile, vulnerable state having returned home from hospital, where she had been under anaesthetic.”
He looked out of an upstairs window of his £840,000 semi and identified Pears and his wife Sally on the other side of his new fence.
“His body was repeatedly lunging against the fence and I simultaneously heard loud impact noises.
“He thrust forward and appeared to be taking running jumps to back up the sheer brute force.
|"Under Attack": William Kerans|
“I saw him raise both arms and attach both hands to a metal trellis on top of the fence and pull and viciously shake the trellis panels.”
Pears told the court he pushed the eight and a half feet high fence once to see if it would return to the original boundary, admitting he did dent it in doing so.
“I told the police I needed urgent assistance because my property was under attack,” added Mr. Kerans, who has had a decade-long dispute with the Pears’.
“The damage was extreme and gratuitous. I recorded nine impact points and the panels had been prised apart.
“I was extremely shaken up by the whole incident, it was a terrifying experience, I was traumatised.
“My wife was lying on the sofa in a state of catatonic shock.”
The fence repair quote is £1,509 and while the magistrates were deliberating Mr. Kerans revealed: “I’m suing him.”
When cross-examined he denied pursuing a “personal vendetta”, replying: “I’m not in the dock. The personal vendetta has been directed at my family and I.”
He also criticised Sally Pears. ”She was doing nothing to restrain her husband. She made no effort to do so, so as far as I was concerned this was a joint enterprise.
|Sally & David Pears Arriving At Court|
“She was doing nothing to stop her violent husband’s attack on my fence and terrorising my wife and I.”
In the morning Mr. Kerans claims he counted nine impact points on the fence and said a panel had been “torn open” and bent “top to bottom.”
The fence replaced a wooden one Pears had installed over two weekends, which Mr. Kerans objected to. “The defendant and his wife illegally erected a fence that encroached over our property.
“It strayed significantly, it zig-zagged and was of very poor quality.”
He sent Pears a letter accusing him of “arbitrarily and unilaterally” erecting a fence on his property, describing the action as “blatant, outrageous and illegal.”
The ex-detective told the court Pears’ wooden fence was “inadequate” and “not fit for purpose.”
Mr. Kerans only agreed to proceed with purchasing the house in 1995 after he was assured the fence was his, knowing how bitter boundary disputes can become.
However, the neighbours have also fallen out over trees in the Pears’ garden and the ex-rugby star reported Mr. Kerans to the police for allegedly chopping one down.
“That was a completely false and malicious allegation,” Mr. Kerans told the court. “It was preposterous.”
“We found slanderous accusations on the council website from Mr. Kerans and over the years there have been threatening emails to myself.”
Pears’ defence team also suggested Mr. Kerans reported his neighbour’s arrest to his employers and to local newspapers at 5am the following morning.
He admitted staying up all night writing a statement about the incident, but did not admit reporting Pears to anyone, but the police.
Pears and wife Sally had just returned from their second home in north Yorkshire, even joking in the car about what they may find after two weeks away.
“Things usually happen when we are away,” he told the magistrates. “Trees get chopped and we were wondering if anything had happened.
“When we got home I found my fence had disappeared and there was a huge green fence tight against my summer house.
“The fence had been built in my garden. It was constructed on my patio area so I went up to it and pushed it to see if it would go back to the boundary.
“It made a loud noise. I pushed the fence one time and it made a bit of a noise.
“Looking at it afterwards there was a dent where I pushed it one time.”
He produced a surveyor’s report confirming the fence was intruding nine inches into his garden.
Wife Sally told the court she saw her husband push the fence twice after her told her: “Look what he’s done now.”
She added: “We’ve put up with threats for a decade, we’re use’d to it.”
The magistrates agreed the construction was an “unfamiliar fence” to Pears and he would not have known he could damage it so easily.
They found he did not intend to cause damage and was not reckless in doing so, finding him not guilty of the charge.