A man whom fellow tenants accused of attracting rats like a Pied Piper has ben back in court as a victim – ten days after being charged as an aggressor.
At the end of last month Peter Jones, aged 50, was convicted of common assault on a woman living across the road from his block of flats after he spat in her face during a late-night row about the wild rats he was claimed to encourage. He will be sentenced on Friday.
On Monday after magistrates at Llandudno were told about another row caused by rats, 28-year-old Kiri Booth was found guilty of threatening behaviour with intent to cause Mr Jones fear of violence.
She agreed that she had threatened to stab him but denied holding a knife with an eleven-inch blade against his face as she did so. Booth said the knife had remained beneath her mattress where she kept it for protection.
Sarah Marsh, prosecuting, said the rumpus in Butterton Road, Rhyl, happened at 2.30am on June 17 when Booth confronted Mr Jones, who was removing rat poison downstairs which had been laid by other residents because of an infestation.
In evidence Jones told defence solicitor Alex Fitzgerald it wasn’t true he had provoked and invited a confrontation by picking up the poison. She was holding the knife within five or six inches of his eye and shouting at him, he stated.
In a police interview Booth had maintained he would remove the poison and sometimes “take rats back up to his flat”.
Booth said in evidence she had demanded of Mr Jones : “Why are you doing this, putting other people’s lives at risk?”
She agreed she had threatened to stab him “to scare him into not picking up the poison or taking rats up. But I did not have a knife with me.”
In evidence her partner Michael Edwards and a young Polish man who was a lodger both denied that she’d had a knife.
Mr Fitzgerald said there had not been a threat of immediate violence. There was a rat problem in the flats, where there were children, and the situation had escalated when he picked up the poison. He remarked : “There is a very unedifying background in many respects.”
Court chairman David Davies, announcing that she was found guilty, said : “We are satisfied that you made the threat and with a knife in your hand.”
Booth, who said she had since moved to a flat in John Street, Rhyl, was told she could have gone straight to prison. Instead she was given a 12-week sentence, suspended for a year, with 200 hours of unpaid work. There will be a rehabilitation requirement to include courses in victim empathy, thinking skills and anger management.
She must pay £515 costs – and £150 compensation to Mr Jones. A destruction order was made for the knife, which was likened to a sword.