The row over rats in a block of flats that saw one woman spat at in …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 9, 2017 in Rat News | Subscribe

A nauseating row over rats in a block of flats has led to two tenants being convicted of violence towards neighbours.

One tenant in the block of flats has been accused by neighbours of attracting wild rats, keeping them in his room and feeding them.

One neighbour said she had even taken a photograph on her mobile phone of a rat against the
window and that they would climb over a kettle and utensils. A court also heard that they would “bite through doors” to get into other flats.

Before the court was 50-year-old Peter Brian Jones. He was found guilty of common assault on Michelle Atherton by spitting in her face on May 25. He denied this and told the court: “I haven’t done it. I am the victim. I haven’t got a rat infestation.”

But Miss Atherton, 20, a neighbour from across the road, told the court: “I have seen them myself.”

Gareth Parry, prosecuting, said Miss Atherton had friends in the block of flats and was concerned that Jones “kept rats in his room, not pet rats but wild rats. The suggestion was that he was encouraging them by feeding them”.

He said: “She tried to speak to the defendant about the rat problem but he refused to engage with her.”

Tenants in the block of flats said they had seen rats climb over a kettle and kitchen utensils (the rats pictured are not from the block of flats)
(Image: Staffan Vilcans/Flickr)

In May, police were at the block and Miss Atherton took the opportunity to go across and this was when Jones spat in her face during an exchange, said Mr Parry.

In evidence, Miss Atherton said there was a baby and young children in the flats and the rats would “bite through doors” into other people’s property. Rat poison had been removed by Jones, she alleged.

“They climb on the windows,” she said. “I told him it was unhygienic.”

In a victim statement, Miss Atherton said she showered and washed her hair after being spat at.

“I would rather be punched in the face,” she said.

At Llandudno magistrates court, chairwoman Jean Bryson told Jones, of Butterton Road, Rhyl – who she described as vulnerable – that his sentencing would be adjourned for a probation report. He is due to be sentenced on Friday.

She said: “We find this a disturbing case involving a vulnerable person who may have been provoked and members of the community who were clearly
concerned about rats.”

Mrs Bryson said the evidence of Miss Atherton was clear and credible, and she had admitted her part in a forceful exchange in which bad language was used.

She said: “We are sure beyond reasonable doubt that Peter Jones spat at Miss Atherton and therefore find Mr Jones guilty.”


But 10 days after he was found guilty, Jones, 50, returned to court as a victim. Tenant Kiri Booth, 28, was found guilty of threatening behaviour with intent to cause him fear of violence.

She agreed that she had threatened to stab him but denied holding a knife with an 11-inch blade against his face as she did so. Booth said the knife had remained beneath her mattress where she kept it for protection.

Sarah Marsh, prosecuting, said the row happened at 2.30am on June 17 when Booth confronted Jones, who was removing rat poison downstairs which had been laid by other residents because of an infestation.

Jones told defence solicitor Alex Fitzgerald it wasn’t true he had provoked and invited a confrontation by picking up the poison. She was holding the knife within five or six inches of his eye and shouting at him, he said.

In a police interview Booth had maintained Jones would remove the poison and sometimes “take rats back up to his flat”.

Booth said in evidence she had demanded of Jones: “Why are you doing this, putting other people’s lives at risk?”

She agreed she had threatened to stab him “to scare him into not picking up the poison or taking rats up. But I did not have a knife with me.”

Kiri Booth, with blonde hair, was found guilty of threatening behaviour towards Peter Jones
(Image: Derek Bellis)

Her partner, Michael Edwards, and a young man who was a lodger both denied that she’d had a knife.

Mr Fitzgerald said there had not been a threat of immediate violence, but referring to the rat problem, said: “There is a very unedifying background in many respects.”

Court chairman David Davies, finding Booth guilty, said : “We are satisfied that you made the threat and with a knife in your hand.”

Booth, who said she had since moved to a flat in John Street, Rhyl, was given a 12-week sentence, suspended for a year, with 200 hours of unpaid work.

She must pay £515 costs – and £150 compensation to Mr Jones.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/row-over-rats-block-flats-13449098

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