Scots mum and son terrified after neighbour takes chainsaw to garden fence over dispute

A family had to flee their home after a crazed neighbour destroyed their 6ft garden fence with a chainsaw after a boundary dispute.

Teacher Maureen O’Neill was so frightened by Anthony McArdle’s outburst that she sold her house in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, and moved away.

The horror details emerged at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Tuesday where her son Connor, 21, also a teacher, gave evidence by video link.

He said: “McArdle was very aggressive. He said he was cutting the fence down.

“He switched on the chainsaw and cut through every post on the fence.

“We were terrified and my mum was screaming. She was traumatised.”

Connor said he saw his neighbour carrying the chainsaw two weeks later.

The witness stated: “McArdle said, ‘I’m just planning the next chainsaw attack.’

“I was extremely worried about what was going to happen next. That was the only home I’d had but I left that day and never went back.”

McArdle, 35, a construction company boss, was convicted of breach of the peace by shouting abuse, trying to start a fight and damaging the fence with a chainsaw in April last year.

He was cleared of threatening or abusive behaviour by telling his neighbour on a later occasion that he was “planning his next chainsaw attack”.

The court heard the dad tore down the 6ft-high fence dividing the properties after claiming his neighbour had no right to build it.

The fence ran from the front of the garden to the wall of Maureen’s property and was put up during a boundary dispute.

McArdle, who owns McArdle Construction and Rail Services Limited, didn’t like it and Maureen received a letter from a lawyer, warning the fence was illegal and would be removed.

Two weeks later, McArdle cut it down with a chainsaw. Sheriff Ray Small said some of the evidence given by Crown witnesses was “exaggerated”.

But he told dad-of-two McArdle: “You can’t behave in the way you did. There is some mitigation in that you were driven to it by what the O’Neills did and it was the culmination of months of frustration.

“It saddens me that adults allowed a boundary dispute to deteriorate to the extent that one party moved house and the other is at the wrong end of serious criminal charges.

“It’s most unfortunate that this was not resolved in a more amicable way.”

McArdle was fined £250 and given a three-year ASBO prohibiting him causing distress to the O’Neills and any other neighbours and damaging property.

McArdle was approached for comment but did not respond to the Sunday Mail yesterday.

Sam Son