Foul-mouthed man racially insulted family during a neighbourhood dispute

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A foul-mouthed neighbour unleashed a volley of abuse with a racist insult at an Hungarian family after he claimed they had been making too much noise from their flat.

Mark Powell, 58, of Woodlands, Brimington, Chesterfield, had complained the family had been constantly making his and his wife’s lives a “living hell” with disturbing noise from their upstairs flat including a baby crying, mum shouting, a flushing toilet and the movement of furniture.

But prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop told a Chesterfield magistrates’ court hearing on Wednesday, March 7, how Balazs Mathiesz, his partner Eniko Fogarasan and their baby were cornered outside as they returned from a shopping trip and were subjected to verbal and racist abuse.

Mrs Allsop said: “They came home from shopping on February 16 and the defendant was waiting outside and he immediately started shouting abuse and it was recorded on a mobile phone.

“Mr Mathiesz states he was with his partner and child and family and felt threatened with verbal and racial abuse and he personally felt the threats would be carried out.”

The complainant stated that he felt scared for himself and his family and thought they were going to be assaulted so he video recorded the incident before going to the police station.

The video recorded Powell swearing and stating he was sick of noise and he threatened to burn the complainant if the noise did not stop and warned the complainant not to make him angry or he would chop him into pieces.

Powell could also be heard on the recording stating he would smash down the complainant’s door and throw him off a balcony before telling the complainant he should “f**k off back from where you come from”.

The defendant told police there had been issues with noise with the neighbours’ child crying in the early hours and he had tried to speak to them and he had spoken to the council.

He added that he suffers with anxiety and the noise had been making things worse.

Powell told police he lost his temper and he had not wanted to carry out the threats he had made and he could not remember everything he had said including the racist comment.

He stressed that he is not a racist because he works with colleagues of different races.

Powell pleaded guilty to using racially aggravated threatening behaviour.

Defence solicitor Bertie Mather said there was a problem in the flats with noise protection and sounds coming from moving furniture, a crying baby, mum shouting and noisy plumbing and these problems continued on a daily and nightly basis.

Mr Mather added: “On October 1, 2017, my client and his wife were woken at 3am. There was crying and constant shouting and Mr Powell shouted up and said stop the noise and that was followed by deliberate stamping.

“Later that day, he attempted suicide and he had to be hospitalised and there was hospital treatment.

“As far as Mr Powell is concerned his fuse was extremely short.”

He added that after Powell had seen the recording he has felt ashamed and was sorry.

Mr Mather said as far as Mr and Mrs Powell were concerned it as “a living hell” and they made complaints to the council, to the occupants and to the private owner of the flat but nothing was done.

Magistrates sentenced Powell to eight weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

He was ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs. He was also given a two-year restraining order.