Wayne Marwood, formerly of Lockwood Close, Thorne, Doncaster, became so paranoid that the couple he used to live near were spying on him he threatened to burn their house down, insulted them and daubed graffitti on their car, according to a Sheffield Crown Court hearing.
Temitayo Dasaolu, prosecuting, told the hearing on March 11 that Marwood’s neighbours were a couple aged in their 80s with health conditions and in May, 2020, he started accusing them of spying on him after they had converted a room at the back of their property.
Ms Dasaolu said: “The defendant started to accuse them of spying on him and being grasses. They had changed a bedroom at the back of their property into a living room and he believed it had been done to spy on him.”
Ms Dasaolu said 50-year-old Marwood made a throat-cutting gesture to the female complainant and threatened to set fire to the couple’s home and he posted distressing Facebook messages which were seen by the couple’s daughter.
Marwood also painted a sign accusing the couple of being “grasses” and even painted his shed with the words “grasses” and “no trust” with a directional arrow pointing at the home of the complainants, according to Ms Dasaolu.
Ms Dasaolu said Marwood also spray-painted the complainants’ Mercedes car bonnet with the word “grass” and while he was spotted sitting at the couple’s patio table he was abusive to the female complainant and threw a sledge hammer and abused the couple.
Recorder David Gordon said Marwood had been delusional to think the couple had been spying on him because they had changed a room and had fitted security CCTV.
He added it was also worrying that when police searched Marwood’s home they found spray paint, a crossbow, an air rifle, a makeshift machete and a small knife.
Marwood, who has previous convictions, pleaded guilty to harassment and to causing damage which occurred between May, 2020, and January, 2021.
The female neighbour said they had been living in fear at what Marwood would do next and her husband stated all they had ever tried to do was be good neighbours.
Pamela Coxon, defending, said a psychiatric report confirmed Marwood suffers with a delusional disorder and he had been submitted to a psychiatric unit during the time of his offending.
She explained there has not been any repeat offending since Marwood moved away from the couple and began staying with his parents.
Ms Coxon added the defendant lost his partner a couple of years ago and this has affected him and he has been receiving medication for depression and epilepsy.
Recorder Gordon acknowledged Marwood has had a difficult time and he has not been the same since he suffered an accident as a teenager and needed an operation to his head.
But he told Marwood: “This offence is so serious only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Recorder Gordon sentenced Marwood to seven months of custody and imposed an indefinite restraining order to protect his former neighbours.