A grieving widow was targeted in a hate campaign from her neighbour after he destroyed a shrine she made in memory of her husband in their communal garden, a court heard.
Church volunteer Margaret Ilkovics, 57, placed shrubs, ornaments and a memory box under a pussy willow tree as a daily reminder of her late husband Richard, who died of cancer aged just 54.
But neighbour Anthony Kenyon, 48, claimed the tribute was a ‘health and safety hazard’ and uprooted the three-foot tree, killed off the grass and plants with weedkiller and even damaged the ornaments, a court was told.
A grieving widow (pictured with the shrine) was targeted in a hate campaign from her neighbour after he destroyed a shrine she made in memory of her husband
Church volunteer Margaret Ilkovics, 57, (pictured with her late husband) placed shrubs, ornaments and a memory box under a pussy willow tree as a daily reminder of her late husband Richard
The warring pair lives at Regina Court in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Kenyon allegedly sent horrible letters to Mrs Ilkovics, saying she had a ‘bogus husband’ and that she had only married him for his money.
He allegedly went on to claim she was involved in shoplifting and would ‘rant and rave’ at her from behind a window at his flat.
Neighbour Anthony Kenyon, 48, (pictured outside Manchester Magistrates’ Court) claimed the tribute was a ‘health and safety hazard’ and uprooted the three-foot tree, a court was told
The court heard Kenyon would unnecessarily call ambulances to Mrs Ilkovics’s home and wrongly claim she had a severe mental illness and needed ‘taking away’.
During one incident Kenyon dumped some of the ornaments in a shoebox on Mrs Ilkovic’s wheelie bin whilst she was away on holiday with a note saying: ‘Please find enclosed the funeral ornaments you placed without permission.
‘Said items I’m reliably informed are supposed to be placed indoors either side of an urn for example.
‘Whilst one appreciates certain individuals placing such items and all manner of other rubbish on graves, It is not acceptable in a domestic garden. You have caused not only an affront to my religious beliefs but blocked access to the fire escape and wasted police time.’
Another note he put in his window referred to Mrs Ilkovic’s home saying: ‘Goods available strictly COD (cash on delivery) convicted shoplifter.’
This week the so-called ‘War of Regina Court’ came before magistrates in Manchester where Kenyon denied charges of harassment between September 2018 and February 2019 and assault on Mrs Ilkovics by throwing a dog toy at her. He denies wrongdoing.
The court heard Mrs Ilkovics had married her husband in June 2018 as he lay terminally ill in hospital and he died the following month. But she fell out with Kenyon when set up the shrine outside their respective homes in the apartment complex which houses the elderly or those with disabilities.
Kenyon allegedly also killed off the grass and plants with weedkiller and even damaged the ornaments
Mrs Ilkovics told justices of the peace: ‘Before Rick got ill we planted a little pussy willow in 2016 and after his death I put a few things that were a tribute to him – plastic hearts, flowers and such like.
‘The little heart had ‘sadly missed’ on it and there was a little angel and a little heart with flowers that my friend gave me to put there. It was something to put there in honour of my late husband – it wasn’t a great big tribute it was just three little ornaments.
‘When Mr Kenyon originally moved into his flat I had personally asked him does he mind if I worked on the garden and put things in it and his answer was: ”You can do anything you want with it – I’m not into gardening”.’
Mrs Ilkovics told the court how Kenyon’s behaviour caused her depression and anxiety and even led to thoughts of suicide.
Kenyon allegedly sent horrible letters to Mrs Ilkovics, saying she had a ‘bogus husband’ and that she had only married him for his money
She said she lies awake all night thinking he is about to do something else.
After a holiday Mrs Ilkovics said returned home and had a knock on her door at 6am and could hear ‘loads of banging’ outside.
She said she went outside to see that her flowers and trellis had been smashed and the pussy willow was twisted as if Kenyon had tried to drag it out.
She added: ‘I nearly fainted. I was anxious and upset because that was the last thing I could remember my husband by.
The court heard that Kenyon allegedly threw a toy pig at Mrs Ilkovics with full force before shouting ‘You fat pig’ and ‘who is going to listen to you with a bad background?’
The court heard that Kenyon (pictured) allegedly threw a toy pig at Mrs Ilkovics with full force before shouting ‘You fat pig’ and ‘who is going to listen to you with a bad background?’
Mrs Ilkovics said that he continued to mention her husband and kept ‘calling him names’.
She said: ‘I have become a hermit in my own home and I don’t feel as if it’s my home anymore.’
Another of her neighbours, Irene Williams, 66, said: ‘The tree plant that Margaret’s late husband had planted was in the middle of a communal area and wasn’t doing any harm.
Another of her neighbours, Irene Williams, 66, said: ‘The tree plant that Margaret’s late husband had planted was in the middle of a communal area and wasn’t doing any harm’
‘Kenyon was in his flat calling us ”slags”. I find Margaret a very nice lady I’ve never had any trouble with her at all.’
Another neighbour, Ruth Middleton, said: ‘Tony was ranting and raving. It was disgusting really, that tree wasn’t doing anyone any harm.’
Prosecutor Miss Beth Pilling said: ‘Mr Kenyon doesn’t dispute the calls being made or posting notes to the complainant. ‘The question is whether the calls and letters are harassing in nature or if he has a different agenda pointing out issues to the complainant.’
The trial was adjourned until next week when Kenyon is expected to give evidence.