These articles were originally published by the Isle of Wight County Press





26/07/2002 14:11:05

A 79-year-old "neighbour from hell" assaulted her local councillor and threatened a housing officer with violence, a court was told.

On Wednesday, Mary Urry was warned by a county court judge that she faces jail if found guilty in future of being a nuisance neighbour.
But afterwards Mrs Urry claimed the incidents were the result of a misunderstanding.
Medina Housing Association is trying to evict Mrs Urry from her home in Gordon Lodge old folk's complex in East Cowes.
The hearing was told Mrs Urry had allegedly assaulted local county councillor Muriel Miller by squeezing her hand on a bus.
She had also threatened Medina's head of housing Angus Macdonald by telling him: "I'll have you".
For Medina, barrister Jeremy Burns said Mrs Urry's behaviour towards warden Lindsay Hayes had also forced her to go off sick.
Mrs Urry denies the allegations. Full evidence will be heard when Mrs Urry attends the full eviction hearing later this year.
The hearing was to decide an application by Medina not to allow Mrs Urry to return home until after the eviction hearing.
The judge, however, accepted her undertaking not to harass, threaten or abuse neighbours or visitors to Gordon Lodge and allowed her to return home.
Mrs Urry said she had many supporters on the complex and that Medina had been too quick to believe others making complaints against her.
The trouble started two years ago after a misunderstanding involving her searching with a torch for a lost cat.
She said: "I've always tried to be helpful and kind to elderly people. I help old ladies off buses and carry their shopping. People are shocked at what is happening."
After the hearing, Mr Burns said it was unusual to take such proceedings against a 79-year-old.
Mr Macdonald said: "This action is a last resort but reflects the seriousness with which we view allegations of anti-social behaviour.
"It is our duty to protect all our tenants."


29/11/2002 11:01:31

SEVENTY-nine-year-old Mary Urry will be evicted from her Medina Housing Association sheltered bungalow in time for Christmas for the harassment and abuse she heaped on fellow elderly residents and staff.

As she left the IW County Court hearing the unrepentant pensioner underlined her status as an OAP neighbour from hell when she told an ex-neighbour that she hoped she would die of cancer.
After she had ironically blown kisses at association head of housing Angus Macdonald, who spearheaded her eviction, Mrs Urry told Irene Trickett: "I hope you die soon of your cancer" and muttered obscenities.
Within minutes she was brought back before the court, where she could have faced a month in prison or a £2,500 fine for contempt.
District Judge Michael Tennant accepted a "sincere apology" made for her by her barrister, but warned Mrs Urry that neither age nor infirmity would protect her from prison if she repeated the contempt in the future.
For the 14 days she has been given to leave her bungalow Mrs Urry remains subject to an injunction to control her behaviour in East Cowes and faces jail if she breaks it.
Mrs Trickett, who 20 years ago had a cancer operation and is a former next door neighbour of Mrs Urry when she lived at Vectis Road in East Cowes, told the court: "The apology to the court means very little. I have put up with this sort of behaviour for a long time."
After the hearing she said: "This is just a small example of the abuse people of East Cowes have had to put up with from this woman."
Mrs Urry's barrister, Baljinde Bath, told the court her client had reacted to the smirks and comments of people who wanted her out of her accommodation in the Gordon Lodge complex.
In granting a possession order the judge had branded Mrs Urry "a harassing, aggressive manipulator".
He pointed to her seeking the support of her Methodist minister friend, the Rev Sylvia Holyhead, saying other residents were conspiring against her just seven days after she had been reported to police for continually harassing the warden of the sheltered accommodation and admitting she had done it.
As she left court Mrs Urry said she had nowhere to go. Social services will now be expected to find her somewhere else to live.
Mrs Urry said: "I suppose I deserve it - I don't know. If people say I do, then I do."
Medina head of housing Angus Macdonald said: "What Mrs Urry said to Mrs Trickett illustrates just how dangerous this woman is. She is not physically dangerous but she has a serious impact on people's lives.
"We have tried everything to help her, but if we did anything wrong in all this it was that we did not take this action a long time ago."
On Wednesday, the second day of the latest in high-profile action against bad tenants by the association, the court was told that Mrs Urry made staff and fellow elderly residents' lives a misery with harassment, including playing Chas and Dave records at high volume, foul language and, after a court injunction to prevent harassment, toning down her behaviour to "fixed glares and stares".
The judge rejected Mrs Urry's claims that there was a conspiracy to get her out, pointing to a GP's report which, although identifying no mental illness, showed she had a rigid personality believing everything that happened to her was the fault of others.
The catalogue of abuse against warden Lindsay Hayes made her physically sick before she went to work and meant she was off work for a month because of stress.
She was in tears as she gave evidence of a letter from Mrs Urry falsely alleging she had got the job by sleeping with a councillor.
In another letter to Mrs Hayes, Mrs Urry said: "When are you going off sick again? - period pains or too much champagne?"
In court Mrs Urry, who suffers from a heart condition and arthritis, walks with a stick and wears a hearing aid, denied almost all the allegations, admitting only that she may have sworn on occasion and given the V sign to other residents.
She shouted liar as local councillor Muriel Miller gave evidence that she was assaulted on a bus by Mrs Urry, grabbing her hand so tightly she lost sensation in her whole arm for more than an hour.
Mrs Urry was supported by Mrs Holyhead, who is Methodist chaplain to the Island's three jails. She described Mrs Urry as "an extremely kind, considerate and caring friend".
But, after being reminded by the association's barrister, Philip Glenn, of the abuse suffered by the warden and other residents, she said her opinion may have altered.

Another article originally published by the Property People Magazine


A sheltered scheme manager who was subjected to a two-year campaign of harassment by a 79 year-old resident was able to return to work this week, following the woman’s high profile eviction.
The widow’s bizarre behaviour towards her and other residents had forced her to sign off work with stress.

The woman’s landlord, Medina housing association, has been overwhelmed with media attention since it took the woman to court for her anti-social behaviour.

On Thursday, pensioner Mary Urry was given two weeks to vacate Gordon Lodge sheltered housing complex in the Isle of Wight, after subjecting neighbours and staff to decades of abuse and intimidation.
A catalogue of malicious behaviour included hitting an elderly woman with a stick after she complained about her loud music, glaring at neighbours and shining a torch in their windows, stalking her fellow residents, taking plants and seeds from people’s gardens, swearing and hurling accusations at people.

She also targeted warden Lindsay Hayes, by logging her every movement, standing by checking her watch when she arrived for work, and regularly shouting at her that she was “useless”, “hopeless” and “thick”.
The widow, and mother of three, spread stories that Hayes - who has years of experience as a scheme warden - had got the job because she slept with a local councillor, and sent a barrage of complaint letters to Medina.
Head of housing Angus Macdonald - who also suffered abuse at the hands of Urry - said it was perhaps difficult for people to understand how a 79-year-old could be so intimidating.

“This is a woman who has taken on large and well-known tough families, single-handedly. They have had to resort to getting injunctions taken out against her. Over two years she targeted our scheme manager every day, until it took its toll. At the same time she was absorbing the stress of the other residents, who would be in her office in tears.”
“She is formidable. What we are dealing with is a very unusual person with a history of conflict from a young age.”

As Urry heard her fate in court she shouted to a former neighbour that she “hoped she died of cancer”. The judge brought her back and convicted her of contempt of court.

Macdonald said initial reservations about pursuing the case of such an elderly woman were outweighed by the need to protect their other residents and staff. Social services agreed in advance that they would “pick up the pieces” if  Urry was evicted.

Macdonald added: “We have had a campaign for two or three years of taking on serious bad behaviour, and this is only one in many. There are other cases where people have threatened their neighbours with meat cleavers. She may not have done that but the principle is the same.”
He said Channel 4 had approached Medina, asking to film a documentary on the case. 

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