Pensioner assaulted neighbour in row over horse manure

Joe Williams (68), Ballytarsna, Co Clare, struck Brett Payton (46) with a piece of scrap

A Co Clare pensioner has been convicted of assault after a row with his neighbour over the piling horse manure against the wall dividing their properties.

Brett Payton (46) told Ennis District Court that Joe Williams (68), Ballytarsna, Kilshanny, struck him on the head with a piece of scrap.

Mr Payton said he was assaulted after trying to cut down plastic sheeting containing horse manure and the other rubbish that was spilling into his rented property.

Insp Tom Kennedy put it to Mr Williams that “you deliberately piled on the horse manure on the wall in an effort to intimidate, antagonise and annoy Mr Payton”.


“You resent Mr Payton living in the property beside you,” the garda said.

Mr Williams replied: “Not at all. I never intimidated anyone.”

Insp Kennedy said it was “very unusual behaviour” and the excuse advanced by Mr Williams, that he was putting the horse manure there to stop crows eating his horses’ feed, “is not credible”.

“It is doing the job for me anyway,” Mr Williams said.

In evidence, Mr Payton told the court Mr Williams said “he would continue to pile up the horse manure until I moved out”. Mr Payton has rented his home with his partner and two children for the past three years.


Recalling the incident that occurred on April 4th last, Mr Patyon said he tried to cut the wrapping as horse manure was dropping into his garden.

“I gathered the black wrapping in my hand and then ‘smack!’ Joe Williams had hit me with a piece of scrap across the head,” he said, adding that it was not the first row with Mr Williams.

Both households contatced gardaí afterwards and Garda Bríd Troy told the court both men were waiting on the road when she arrived.

Mr Williams denied striking Mr Payton, stating “I had nothing in my hands. I never hit a man in my life and I have no intention of.”

“Mr Payton was roaring like a mad-man saying ‘you’re a tinker’ and ‘you’re a tramp’,” he said

In his judgement, Judge John King said he was "satisfied that Mr Williams did strike Mr Payton and is guilty as charged".

He gave him conditional discharge under the Probation Act and placed Mr Williams on a bond that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 12 months.

Speaking after the case, Mr Payton said Mr Williams “is wasting his time if he thinks we are going to move”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times