Baseball bat terror of young mum as she fed baby

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A TERRIFIED mum called 999 when she saw her next door neighbour banging on her front window of her home with a baseball bat.

Earlier she had heard Keiron Lowe waving a piece of flagstone and shouting “I’ll get you” at a tent which was pitched in his front garden in Avondale Street, Standish, after becoming convinced a couple were inside it having sex.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates heard that the unemployed 49-year-old then turned his attention to the adjoining home where Katie Rutter lived. Lowe had convinced himself that the mystery amorous couple had left the tent and were now hiding in her home instead.

He leaned over the fence dividing the front gardens of the two properties and began repeatedly banging on the window of Ms Rutter’s home yelling: “Get out here now” and “I’ll get you and you wont see me coming.”

Lowe pleaded guilty to using threatening and abusive words and behaviour on the early morning of October 25.

The bench granted a restraining order that he must never approach or speak to his next door neighbours again, handed down a community order along with a three month 8pm - 6am curfew after reading a lengthy social inquiry report which revealed that Lowe continued to battle the demons of mental illness.

The court heard that the defendant had also repeatedly apologised to Miss Rutter and her partner Paul Marsh afterwards.

Katie Beattie, prosecuting, told magistrates that Miss Rutter and Mr Walsh were aware that their neighbour suffered from mental health problems and had tried to be tolerant of his erratic behaviour because of it.

But the incident - Mr Walsh had gone to work and Miss Rutter was feeding their baby upstairs - had left her “genuinely terrified.”

She had heard Lowe yelling in the direction of the tent, but only called the police five minutes later when she watched him from an upstairs window disappear into his home before re-appearing with the baseball bat.

He then leaned over the party fence and began banging on her from window and she became increasingly concerned it would shatter.

Lowe told police that he had been up for three days solidly without sleep because he could hear a radio playing in his head.

He was also worried because he had “heard” somebody using a key in his door lock.

The tapping on the window with the baseball bat was not aimed at Miss Rutter or Mr Marsh but the couple he believed were now hiding in their home, but he insisted, they were empty threats.

Karen Schofield, defending, said that there were “difficult circumstances” behind the incident.

She said Lowe, who has eight previous convictions for 14 offences, lived a somewhat “lonely and isolated” existence because of his on-going battle with mental health problems.

He had a circle of friends but rarely came into contact with his neighbours and usually kept himself to himself. Because neighbours knew of his health problems they were scared of contact with him and that made his isolation more profound.

She said: “He genuinely believed and was upset at the thought that a friend and an ex girlfriend were in the tent having sex in his garden and then believed that he saw them going into next door.

“He says that he was tapping on the window next door although he accepts that it may have sounded like loud banging from inside the house and although it could have scared Miss Rutter it was not directed at her.

“It is a sad situation but Mr Lowe is fully engaged with the mental health services now and he is making sure that medication is taken.”

Magistrates ordered that £195 in prosecution costs, victim surcharge and compensation to Miss Rutter be taken from Lowe’s benefits.