Man guilty of breaching noise notice interrupted baby’s funeral

A MAN accused of breaking an abatement notice played music in his house so loudly, that the wake of a baby’s funeral next door had to be relocated, a court heard.

Matthew Waite, of York Road, Stevenage, would often play music loudly, stopping next door’s children getting any sleep, Stevenage Magistrates’ Court was told.

The 26-year-old was found guilty today (Tuesday) by magistrates of breaching an abatement notice, served by Stevenage Borough Council in May last year. The notice said that he should not play music loud enough to be heard next door.

Waite’s neighbour, Clare Ward, told the court how there had been problems with noise since she moved into the house three years ago.

“You can hear music playing through the walls all day and night,” she said. “After contacting the council, I even had the gentleman be abusive to my kids over the fence.

She added: “I can hear it [the noise] over my front room TV. I can hear it in the furthest bedroom away from Mr Waite’s house. I’ve got a three-year-old. I can’t put her in her bedroom during the day to go to sleep. I have to put her on the sofa.”

Ms Ward also told the court how the wake of her baby daughter was interrupted by the noise.

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“On the day of my baby’s funeral, when my daughter was buried, we were meant to be having people after at our house,” she told magistrates. “Because this was going on next door, my parents took us away in the end.”

SBC environmental health officer Aideen Monaghan told magistrates that she visited Waite on September 9 last year. It was on this date he was accused of breaching the notice.

“I arrived at 12 noon and I attended the neighbouring property, where I was asked to listen to music coming from the adjoining property. I went upstairs to the first floor and listened to music in the bedroom adjoining [the property]... and could clearly hear the music,” she said.

Ms Monaghan said that she then went round to Waite’s house, and knocked on the door several times before he answered.

She said that she told him about the abatement notice, which he denied receiving. He then refused to turn down the music when asked, and used a swearword to describe himself and his neighbours, she added.

Waite, who represented himself, claimed that he was partially deaf, and said that it was possible other people’s interpretation of noise was different from his own.

He contested that he had ever received the initial abatement notice.

But a statement from SBC environmental officer Carolina Garcia, which was read out in court, said that she had posted by hand the notice to his address in May last year.

Chairman of magistrates John Gribbon also said he was content the notice had been served correctly.

“We are satisfied that the local authority properly served this notice,” he told Waite.

“You have given evidence that you did not receive it, but we found your evidence vague.”

Waite, who had pleaded not guilty, was handed a conditional discharge and ordered to pay �200 costs. He was also warned that the abatement notice still stood, and that any breach of it would be a criminal offence.