|Convicted: Rosa & Rebecca Rahman|
A retired GP, who pruned roses overhanging his garden fence, was warned: ‘Cut my plants again and you will die,’ during a bitter dispute with mother and daughter neighbours.
Sri Lankan-born Dr. Mathiaparanam Sreetharan, 73, was told by the university graduate daughter: “People in this country have a garden. Where you come from is just mud huts and no garden.”
Rosa Rahman, 75, and her daughter, production manager Rebecca Rahman, 46, of Balham Park Road claim the doctor poured weedkiller on their cherished rear garden to deliberately kill plants by the boundary fence.
Rosa was convicted of assaulting Dr. Sreetharan with a push to the shoulder in his front garden on July 5, last year and was fined £75, with £150 costs and ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge.
Mum-of-one Rebecca, who attended London’s Guildhall University pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated threatening behaviour on June 30 and harassing the doctor between June 26 and August 23.
She was placed on probation for twelve months and must complete 100 hours community service work. She was also fined £200, with £85 costs, with an £85 victim surcharge.
“I was clearing plants that had come onto my side of the property,” Dr. Sreetharan told Wimbledon Magistrates Court. “The neighbours were there shouting at me, very abusive language.”
The next day he found what he describes as the “death note” attached to his fence. “It was a shocking thing to observe.”
He audio recorded Rebecca’s “mud huts” comment on his phone, which also captured Rosa calling him a: “Bastard, coming here to bleed the country dry.”
Dr. Sreetharan, of Balham Park Road, explained: “They always talk at the top of their voice. I was really scared and was not sure if I was going to be attacked.”
He claimed they each had a brick in their hand, adding: “To save my life I drove to Tooting Police Station.”
The court did not find the women armed themselves with bricks outside their £750,000 house and cleared Rosa of a racially-aggravated charge in relation to her comment.
The former GP installed four CCTV cameras around his property and one was smashed with a metal spanner attached to the end of a long pole.
|"Life's Work": Rahman Garden|
Rosa’s shoved was captured on a worker’s phone. “She pushed my left shoulder and said: ’Nasty little man.’ I have pain in my shoulder and the pain was increased.
“Rosa also sprayed water and a hosepipe on me and my workers and once threw liquid from a washing-up bowl in my direction, but fortunately I jumped.”
The court cleared Spanish-born Rosa of harassment in relation to those allegations.
Dr. Sreetharan estimates the dispute has cost him £40,000, but was unable to produce any evidence. “It has caused me so much stress and trauma.
“My right wrist was also damaged cutting the thorny roses and my right knee gave way when running from my property to Wandsworth Police Station.”
Rosa told the court: “My life is the garden, I spent a lot of money on it and he started cutting everything he could reach. It’s my life’s work and he’s ruined everything.
“He was ruining my garden and I told him he was a horrible man. I was very angry, I just looked at my plants and cried.”
District Judge Barbara Barnes said: “This arises from a bitter neighbour dispute about plants and branches hanging over a fence and the dispute got out of hand last summer.
“The complainant was not a credible or convincing witness, unclear, rambling and confused. He was vague and at times obstructive and has exaggerated and embellished aspects of his evidence.
“I don’t find his account of being scared for his life or that these ladies came at him with bricks as plausible.”
Regarding Rosa she said: “I did not find her compelling either and she found difficulty admitting what she said, calling him a b****** and useless article.”