Vegetarians in court for stalking neighbours in row over smelly meat
London – A vegetarian couple who claimed their lives were made unbearable by the smell of ‘rotten meat’ from next door are now on trial for stalking their neighbours.
Mayfair sommelier Christoph Hons, 50, and his wife Sylvia, 45, are accused of carrying out months of harassment which continued even after their targets moved home.
The saga began with the smell of rotting meat, which Mr Hons said had spread to his ‘home, in the curtains, clothes, all over the place’. A court heard: ‘It was very intense, foul meat, rotten meat. I am quite sensitive on taste and smell – it is a big part of my job. We called the police every time that happened. Every time it occurred.’
The source was eventually discovered, with a service pipe between the properties to blame. Insulation fixed the problem – but others remained.
The Honses said late-night parties and DIY at the home of Scott Lawrence and his wife Jessica Parker made their life a misery. Both couples filmed each other with phones and portable Go-Pro cameras as tensions mounted.
Mr and Mrs Hons and Mr Lawrence were issued with police harassment warnings before criminal charges were pursued.
Following the couples’ feud, Mr Lawrence and Miss Parker moved out of their home in St Margarets, west London – but they claim the Honses carried out a three-month stalking campaign after they left. The defendants, on trial at Kingston Crown Court, are said to have filmed their former neighbours on mobile phones as they went jogging.
Mr Hons, who works at a Chinese restaurant, Park Chinois, told the jury that his neighbours began to hold loud weekend parties in late 2015. ‘We could hear the music through the walls up until 2 or 3 am,’ he said. ‘I complained but I found them quite aggressive. The parties stopped but then there was loud banging up to midnight.
‘There was also six weeks of continuous drilling.’ He claimed he was scared of Mr Lawrence, saying: ‘He once said: “I’m going to get you, I’m going to slap you.” I was shocked. We never gave him a reason to do that. I feared for the safety of myself, my wife, my house and my cat.
‘It was frustrating that the police really didn’t do anything to resolve this situation.’
Mr Lawrence and Miss Parker said they were the innocent victims. The court heard the couple objected to the multiple CCTV cameras on the Honses’ property.
In one incident recorded on a mobile phone, Mr Lawrence is heard accusing his neighbours of being ‘voyeuristic’. He said: ‘You two have done nothing but harass me for the last six months while I’m walking my dogs.’ Miss Parker told the court: ‘We would throw a ball to the dogs [near the Honses’ property] and nobody else minded. Eventually, they got a “No Dog Walking” sign put up there.’
Describing one clash, she said: ‘We had been exercising our dogs and Mrs Hons went back home to get her moped and drove it at us for half an hour, while filming. My heart was pounding, but what is the best thing to do with a bully? We had been subjected to aggression, but when someone is bullying you, do you just scuttle off?’
A recording of the incident was played to the jury and Mr Lawrence can be heard shouting: ‘You and your husband are freaks. We know you have eight or nine cameras.’
Mr Hons said: ‘My cameras were to monitor and prevent an incident because I did not know how far it would go.’
He and his wife deny stalking their former neighbours between January 15 and April 29 last year. The trial continues.