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Australia’s worst neighbourhood disputes are revealed

When it comes to rules to live by, ‘love thy neighbour’ is often easier said than done.

Across Australia, neighbourhood disputes have torn apart communities and even marriages as residents fight nail and tooth over petty disagreements. 

In one extraordinary case a vegan took her neighbours to court over their backyard barbecues, claiming the smell was wafting into her home and ruining her sleep.

Another feud tore apart a couple’s marriage after a row over their neighbour’s fence lasted for 12 years.    

Here, Daily Mail Australia reveals some of the worst neighbourhood feuds across the country.

A 12-year neighbourhood dispute between Jeanette Minifie, her ex-husband Noel Plumb and their neighbours Anthony Saba and Stuart Maxwell shocked the suburb of East Ryde, in Sydney’s north.  

Ms Minifie and Mr Plumb’s dispute with their neighbours started in 2008.

The bad blood began when Mr Saba, who lives over their back fence, cut down some trees – infuriating Mr Plumb.

Over the years that followed it became increasingly personal between Mr Plumb and Mr Saba, before escalating to new levels in 2011 at which point police were forced to intervene.

Police took out an apprehended violence order (AVO) against Mr Plumb in a bid to protect Mr Saba, but it was later set aside in court.

Mr Plumb became so invested in the feud with Mr Saba that it would cost he and Ms Minifie their defacto marriage. 

In an affidavit tendered to court, Ms Minifie claimed Mr Plumb became ‘obsessed’ by the battle with Mr Saba with also severely impacted his mental health.

As part of their split, Mr Plumb agreed to hand over his quarter-share of their marital home to Ms Minifie who in return allowed him to continue living on the property.

In 2017, Ms Minifie built an illegal fence after learning Mr Maxwell could see into her property. She was ordered this year to remove the fence.

Anne O’Donnell, 86, and her neighbour Kate Wood, 56, were once friends before becoming embroiled in an ugly dispute over a patch of dirt between their adjacent homes in Perth.

A war of words escalated when the pair began spraying each other with garden hoses, before the stoush spiralled out of control. 

The women fell out over the piece of dirt between their two front yards earlier this year.

Ms Wood claims the patch is her land, but for years Ms O’Donnnell has been watering it and treating it as her own.

When rubbish was dumped on the strip of land, an infuriated Ms O’Donnell removed lavender plants on her rival’s property.

CCTV footage showed Ms O’Donnell tearing up the row of about 10 plants one-by-one – leaving Ms Wood furious.

Kelly, Ms O’Donnell’s adopted granddaughter, claimed Ms Wood became menacing and when Ms O’Donnell was caught spraying her neighbour with the garden hose, she was arrested for repeatedly breaching a misconduct order.

She spent six days in a maximum security jail in a legal aid bungle before eventually being granted bail.

Western Australian Attorney-General John Quigley said he suspects Ms O’Donnell, who is indigenous, would have never been put in jail if she was white. 

Two well-respected indigenous artists had the Aboriginal flag proudly flying outside their home in Mildura, Victoria, before a white couple tried to tear it down last December.

The man who lived next door had issues with the newest addition to the neighbourhood, and claimed the couple were ‘only 1 per cent Aboriginal’. 

In shocking footage, the woman – referred to as ‘Karen’ – was seen aggressively trying to rip the flag from Robby Wirramanda’s car.  

Mr Wirramanda is heard calmly saying: ‘I sincerely hope that we don’t have to talk again.’

He then turns the camera to film ‘Karen’ desperately tugging at the family’s flag.

‘Look at you, trying to rip my flag off. You’re a drunken, f*****g bum,’ he went on.

‘It’s too strong for you, Karen!’

Having given up with her effort to rip the flag, ‘Karen’ then says: ‘Take this s**t down, it’s a disgrace’.

The man – understood to her husband – then chimed in: ‘Which 1 per cent of you is Aboriginal? Mate, you’ve got nothing in you that’s Aboriginal.’ 

Polo club owners create ‘Australia’s Gaza Strip’

Sydney Polo Club owner Peter Higgins and neighbouring Kurri Burri Polo Club owner John Marshall were at each other’s throats over a dispute in 2017.

Mr Higgins won the rights to hold the World Polo Championship at his exclusive Richmond estate. 

But neighbour Mr Marshall claimed the event was just a ‘Trojan Horse’ so Mr Higgins could develop his property, a claim the owner flatly denied.

The feud was so intense onlookers described the country road that borders the rolling fields of their properties as ‘the Gaza Strip’. 

Mr Higgins even sent a 1,349-word email to members of the polo community on calling Mr Marshall ‘despicable’ and a ‘dimwit’.  

In the letter the sportsman claimed Mr Marshall was ‘rogue’ and was ‘undermining’ the event, even as the approvals for it were ‘100 percent on track’.

‘I have kept too quiet for too long as to what despicable acts he has been up to,’ Mr Higgins wrote in the email. 

In the message, he claimed the dispute with Mr Marshall had reduced his wife Rebecca to tears several times.

‘The concern I have quite simply is …. if nobody stops this dimwit the event will not proceed and it will go the USA, never to return here,’ he wrote.

Mr Marshall contended Mr Higgins was trying to use the event in a bid to rezone his land and said he was ‘absolutely for the World Cup’ – just not the way his neighbour was going about it. 

 

Cilla Carden from Girrawheen, north of Perth, has been locked in a battle with Toan Vu, who lives next door with his wife and children, since late 2018.

The angry vegan even took the family to court, claiming they deliberately held barbecues next door so the scent of meat would waft into her home.

Ms Carden went so far as to say she was unable to go outside because the smell of fish was so strong.

Ms Carden also complained about Mr and Mrs Vu’s cigarette smoke and said their children slam basketballs into their shared fence at all hours of the day.

Ms Carden’s claims were heard at a tribunal in January this year – but the tribunal dismissed every single one of them. 

She then applied to the Supreme Court for the right to appeal the decision and was also turned down in July. 

‘They’ve put it there so I smell fish, all I can smell is fish. I can’t enjoy my backyard, I can’t go out there,’ she told Nine News.

‘It’s deliberate, that’s what I told the courts, it’s deliberate. It’s been devastating, it’s been turmoil, it’s been unrest I haven’t been able to sleep.’

Mr Vu said he had removed his barbecue from his yard and had banned his children from playing basketball.

Veronica Maria Vella, 55, confronted her elderly neighbour, flanked by two German Shepherds on a small Queensland island last September.

The 70-year-old man had ventured onto a boat ramp and jetty on Ms Vella’s property on Russell Island after consulting with a lawyer and believing it was public land, the Cleveland Magistrate’s Court heard.  

The man pleaded with Vella to bring her dogs under control before one of the animals bit him on the knee.

He was then struck by the nurse, causing his glasses to shatter and a cut on his forehead, after which he told her she had ‘gone too far’ and was ‘in deep sh*t’.

The feud between the neighbours had grown increasingly bitter over three years, according to Vella’s solicitor.

The magistrate ordered a $500, 12 month good behaviour bond and that Vella pay $400 in compensation for the man’s glasses and injury.

Vella did not have a conviction recorded.

Ryan Collier’s daily tuba practice at 8am in his Brisbane home proved too much for his neighbour who threatened to call the police.

The disgruntled neighbour left a passive aggressive letter into the Collier family’s letter box, horrifying Ryan’s mum.

The note said the neighbour had already reported the tuba playing to police, and threatened to call authorities again if the noise did not stop.  

The mother further showed her anger at the letter in a Facebook post.

‘I apologise that his practice is annoying you but suggest you get some earplugs because I will most definitely NOT tell him to stop practicing,’ she wrote.

An argument turned physical between Katrina Jean Wear, 54, and her female neighbour after her dog Sprocket escaped her Perth home last September.

Sprocket managed to not only gatecrash an 80th birthday party, but she also devoured the entire birthday cake, leaving Ms Wear furious.

Ms Wear and her neighbour reportedly started pulling each other’s hair and trading punches. 

Several guests at the celebration joined the melee including Ms Wear’s son, who kneed the victim twice to the stomach as he tried to free his mother.

The victim claimed she suffered a broken nose, which needed hospital treatment.

Magistrate Leanne Atkins described Ms Wear’s behaviour as ‘totally unacceptable’ as she fined the woman and her son $1,650 each. 

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