Court told man was in such fear of pensioner neighbour he never left his Burnley home without wearing bodycam

A Burnley attack victim lives in such fear of his pensioner neighbour, who has repeatedly insulted him in the street, he says he now wears a bodycam every time he goes out,  a court heard.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 12:05 pm
The court heard that the defendant had been to see his doctor, who had referred him to MIND, the mental health charity, so that he deals with situations better.

Ian Zirins was 'whacked' between the eyebrows with a walking stick by 'hot-headed' Harold Durant in January, after Durant said:"I told you I would get you."

The 69- year-old had then chased the victim up the road, shouting that Mr Zirins was a 'scaredy cat.'

Father-of-two Durant, who had alleged he had seen Mr Zirins with a 'big camera,' facing his landing window, had appeared before the town’s magistrates over that incident in March. He had been banned by a restraining order from contacting Mr Zirins, who, the court had been told, was a birdwatcher, for a year.

Durant has now been back before the same court, which heard he repeatedly shouted at the victim "You just wait until April, 2020' which Mr Zirins caught on his body-worn video.

Durant, who is currently looking after his sick wife, could have been facing jail, but was spared because, said the justices, of the significant impact immediate custody would have had on her.

The defendant, of Loughrigg Close, Burnley, admitted two counts of breaching a restraining order, and was given eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. He must pay £85 costs and an £115 victim surcharge.

The Bench chairman told him:”You would probably be better concentrating on your wife, rather than what’s gone on with your neighbour in the past.

"You are too old to be messing about like this. There’s no point getting involved in it.”

The latest hearing was told that after the attack in January, Mr Zirins, a retired professional, had installed CCTV at his house and wore the body camera every time he left the house as he was in constant fear of further incidents.

Mrs Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said on May 19th, Durant walked towards the victim and shouted at Mr Zirins whilst standing directly in front of him and looking straight at him.

On June 22nd, at 11.20am, the defendant repeatedly shouted the same thing at Mr Zirins as he stood by his car.

Mr Zirins replied:” You clearly don’t understand court orders.” Both incidents were captured on the victim’s body -worn footage.

Mrs Yates said Mr Zirins told police Durant’s behaviour had had a devastating effect on his physical and mental health.

She continued:” He has seen his GP as a result of this and has previously been prescribed tranquillisers.

"He feels like a prisoner in his own home. He and his wife have seriously considered selling their home of over 34 years in order to get away from the defendant.

"He feels he can’t enjoy his retirement and has had to tell friends and family to be wary when visiting their address.”

Miss Deanne McGinty, defending Durant, told the hearing his wife had been extremely poorly and had been in and out of hospital.

Miss McGinty added:” He has had a lot of concerns on his mind and has not dealt with this matter in a proper fashion.” She added :” He should know better but sometimes simply cannot help himself.”

“He is remorseful and he regrets his actions. He doesn’t want to be here in court. He wants to be at home, caring for his poorly wife.”

Probation officer Elliot Smith, who interviewed the defendant, said:” He admits he possibly comes across sometimes as hot-headed and can be rather challenging and does need to stop and think a bit more.”

The officer went on:”This neighbour has cameras around his house. This troubles him ( Durant) somewhat. He feels his privacy has been invaded.”

Mr Smith said the defendant had been to see his doctor, who had referred him to MIND, the mental health charity, so that he deals with situations better.

He went on: " I think the needs of this defendant will be met through MIND.”

The officer added:”There is a lot of stress and pressure in looking after his wife.”