Churwell pensioner pushed neighbour down stairs in music row

Janice Deveney
Janice Deveney

A pensioner inflicted serious injuries on her neighbour by pushing her down some stairs in a doorstep row about loud music.

Retired nurse Janice Deveney, 65, of Granny Avenue, Churwell, left Clare Smith needing surgery to a badly broken arm after she fell down a flight of steps during the dispute.

A court heard Deveney failed to call an ambulance despite seeing the victim fall and hurt herself.

Deveney was arrested and denied the shove, claiming that Ms Smith fell down the stairs.

The attack was witnessed by other neighbours. Deveney was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

She was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay compensation to her victim after the court heard she had no previous convictions and is in poor health.

The jury heard the incident happened outside Deveney’s home on Granny Avenue on August 8 last year.

Deveney suffers from hearing problems and was playing music loudly at her home when Ms Smith went to complain about the noise.

The two women rowed before Deveney said: “Get off my property, get off my property.”

She then pushed Ms Smith and she fell backwards down the stairs, hitting her head and breaking her arm.

Ms Smith had to undergo a bone graft operation and is still receiving medical treatment for her injuries.

Part of the incident, including the fall, was caught on a CCTV camera installed on Deveney’s property. But it failed to capture the moment the shove took place.

The jury took 15 minutes to convict her of the offence.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “I am prepared to accept that it was not premeditated and that it was an unfortunate and instinctive lash out by you, pushing her away.

“It must have been immediately and easily recognisable that in doing that she was likely to fall down those steps and suffer serious injuries.”

The judge added: “It is a very serious matter and in normal circumstance would have led to an immediate prison sentence.

“But because of your circumstances and personal health and hearing difficulties, I’m not going to send you to prison today.”

Deveney was given an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work.

She was also told she must pay £1,500 compensation to the victim.