A dad-of-two insulted his disabled neighbour and assaulted her partner, who has a degenerative spinal condition, in a fall-out over a call to the police, a court heard.
Mechanic Aaron O’ Hara also swore at the female neighbour who has spina bifida, other life-limiting conditions and uses a wheelchair.
O’ Hara hit her partner in the jaw in the 2.30am trouble outside their homes in Burnley. O’ Hara had earlier been drinking, watching the Clarets.
The town’s magistrates were told how 28-year-old O’ Hara had discovered his neighbour had phoned the police after she heard what she thought was a very loud domestic argument at the house he shared with his mother.
The relationship between the neighbours had cooled quite considerably.
Mrs Philippa White, prosecuting, said the neighbour's partner went out to his car at about 2.30am and heard somebody say:”What are you looking at?” He turned and saw O’Hara at his front door.
Words were exchanged between the two men about the phone call and the neighbour's partner said he had not even been at the house that night and it was his partner who made the decision.
Mrs White said the defendant then went towards the victim, who put his arms out in front of him and began to back away from O’ Hara. The victim went backwards, tripped over a kerb and stumbled and as he did the defendant pushed out with his hands and struck the victim in the jaw, causing him discomfort and pain.
O’ Hara’s mother came out and told her son not to be stupid and to go back inside. As he was going back the neighbour was at her window.
She had seen what had gone on and said: " I have rung the police. Leave him alone. I have a child in here who can hear everything.”
O’ Hara looked straight at her and replied: "What are you going to do?" He also called her an offensive name.
Mrs White said: "Unfortunately, her child was awake at the time and heard that comment being made.”
Mrs White added: " She said she felt it was deliberately aimed at her to upset her and make her feel bad about herself and she was genuinely worried about what would happen next."
The defendant was interviewed and said he was remorseful about the comment made and didn’t know why he said it, other than in anger. Mrs White went on :” He said he hadn’t intended to cause any upset and didn’t mean what he said.”
The prosecutor said the neighbour's partner was vulnerable who had an 'invisible' disability and could have been quite seriously injured, although he accepted O’ Hara wouldn’t have known that.
Mr Dylan Bradshaw, defending O’Hara, said:” When I asked him why would he say such a hurtful, disgraceful remark in the way that he did, he became upset and said 'I can’t justify it, I can’t explain it and I am ashamed of myself,' and I said to him, as his lawyer ' You should be'. "
The solicitor said when the neighbour overheard the defendant on the phone having a very robust disagreement with his partner over the children, she perhaps thought the woman might be at the property.
Mr Bradshaw said the remark made towards his neighbour was extremely inappropriate and unacceptable and O’ Hara couldn’t unmake it.
The solicitor continued: "He wants me to stress he has no intention to carry on any unpleasantness.
"They should not live in fear. He bitterly regrets what he did and understands the hurt that has been caused and the damage to this woman’s self- esteem."
The defendant admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress and assault by beating on July 31st.
O’ Hara, of Tedder Avenue, Burnley, was given a 12-month community order, with 40 hours unpaid work and must pay £60 and £40 compensation respectively to each of his victims.
He must also pay £85 costs and a £90 victim surcharge and was banned by a six-month restraining order from contacting the victims and from going within the boundaries of the property next door.