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Felixstowe man broke neighbour's fence after mistaking turkey foot as 'threat'

The Magistrates Court in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

The Magistrates Court in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

A man has admitted damaging his neighbour’s fence after mistaking a turkey’s foot found in his garden for a tarot card-style bad omen.

Richard Studd, 43, of Ferry Road, Felixstowe, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court today to causing criminal damage on January 1 this year.

The court heard that a dispute had erupted between Studd and his neighbour Steven Sayers after two anonymous letters were sent to Studd in relation to his dog barking.

Prosecuting, Lesla Small said the defendant had become angry upon seeing the letter.

“Mr Sayers heard some banging coming from the end of the garden,” she said.

“A piece was broken off his fence. He believed his fence was being struck by a hammer.

“Mr Studd was very angry and was shouting and swearing.”

The police were called and Studd was arrested.

Ms Small told the court Studd told police that his dog was ‘part of the family’ so had taken offence to the letters.

“Over the last two weeks he had received two letters complaining about the dog barking,” she said.

“It was written in capital letters and was unsigned.
“He had his suspicions they did come from Mr Sayer’s address.

“He also stated he recently found a turkey foot in his garden.

“He Googled it and made a link between that and a death card from a packet of tarot cards.

“He took that as a threat too.”

Ms Small said Stubbs had told police it was not a hammer he used to hit the fence, it was his father’s old walking stick.

He said he had struck the fence to create a hole so he could see what his neighbours were doing.

Studd said he would pay for the damage and was given a caution but was brought back to court when the money was not paid.

In mitigation, Studd told the court at the time of the offence he was going through a psychotic breakdown and that he had been sectioned a week after his arrest.

He told the court the reason he had not paid for the damage was because he had spent three months under section at Ipswich Hospital.

He said: “Because of my state of mind I got the threats out of perspective.”

Studd was handed a conditional discharge for one year and made to pay compensation of £50.

He was also made to pay costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.

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