Neighbours’ fear as attacker walks free

Lance and Helen Bonsor's home in Edmonton place where they attack happened
Lance and Helen Bonsor's home in Edmonton place where they attack happened
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A Blackpool couple said they believe jealousy sparked a dispute with a neighbour which ended in violence.

Lance and Helen Bonsor, of Edmonton Place, North Shore, said taking pride in their home caused Thomas O’Dea to attack them at the front door of their property in July last year.

The couple were about to go to bed when O’Dea kicked at their front door before thrusting his hand into the mouth of Mr Bonsor.

Mr Bonsor, 74, was left in extreme pain and when his wife Helen, 76, went to his aid, she was kicked in the stomach by O’Dea, who lives in the same road.

Both the Bonsors ended up having hospital treatment after neighbours intervened and pull O’Dea away.

Police were called and O’Dea was arrested.

He pleaded guilty to assaulting the married couple at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Speaking to The Gazette, Mrs Bonsor said the pair had started gardening and believed an attempt to improve the area where they lived had annoyed O’Dea.

He added: “We wanted to bring the area up. We wanted to make the area look nice.

“We lived here seven years – he was never friendly to us.

“He was just very jealous about what we were trying to do.”

Magistrates sentenced 64-year-old O’Dea to 12 weeks prion, suspended for 18 months yesterday.

He was also placed on 18 months supervision and ordered to pay each of his victims £200 compensation.

But Mr Bonsor said: “I thought he would have got at least three months in jail.

“He should have got more.

“I fear he will start again.”

Pam Smith, prosecuting, said, on the night of the assault, Mr Bonsor had started to shut his windows when he saw O’Dea’s car coming down the road.

O’Dea approached the Bonsor’s home and tried to open one of the windows shouting: “I am going to kill you.”

He then battered on the front door and when Mr Bonsor opened it O’Dea grabbed him and put his hand in in the victim’s mouth drawing blood and ripping the skin inside.

When Mrs Bonsor came to her husband’s assistance she was kicked in the stomach causing considerable pain because of a medical condition.

Steven Townley, defending, said the incident was the result of a long-running feud between neighbours – something Mr and Mrs Bonsor dispute.

Mr Townley added: “The matter is already the subject of injunction proceedings in the county court.

“This matter at this court was set down for trial and my client had many character references to show the court. However he has now changed his plea to guilty.”

O’Dea was also made the subject of a restraining order 18 months forbidding from contacting the Bonsors or go on their property.

O’Dea was unavailable for comment.