Great Britain

OAP, 81, used her PARROT to torment neighbours and smeared dog poo in garden

BRITAIN’S oldest neighbour from hell has been convicted after using her parrot to squawk opera at her locals.

Pensioner Catherine Searle, 81, taught her pet ‘Ringo’ to deliberately launch into ear-splitting shrieks neighbours described as "Chinese torture".

The bird also taunted neighbours, in well-healed Seal, near Sevenoaks, Kent, by whistling the McDonald’s tune ‘I’m Lovin’ it’.

During her three-year campaign of harassment, Searle hurled poo at her neighbours' garden.

The OAP was caught on CCTV 38 times smearing grease over the bonnets of neighbours Paul and Lydia Appleton's van and car in 2018, a court heard.


On another occasion she scratched the bonnet of a Toyota with her ring - and also placed sharp tacks underneath the wheels of Mr Appleton's van.

Magistrates in Maidstone heard it was the parrot that tormented victims so much they described it as a "weapon".

James Nichols, prosecuting, said: "She would deliberately try and harass them.

"On one occasion she started playing loud opera music, which caused the bird to sing louder."

In a victim impact statement Ms Appleton said the couple had suffered nightmares and her husband had to go through daily checks on the road-worthiness of his van.

She said: "I feel nervous for my husband when he's on the road, I'm in fear of what might happen, he could be hurt or cause a terrible accident.

I feel nervous for my husband when he's on the road, I'm in fear of what might happen

Lydia Appleton

"He has to go through a daily routine of checking the wheels to make sure there are no tacks and nothing has been tampered with."

Probation officer Lauren Packham, who interviewed the pensioner, said Searle believed she was “the victim”.

She said: "I've spoken to Mrs Searle and it's clear she doesn't fully accept culpability. She believes she is as much a victim in this neighbourly dispute.”

The dispute started in 2004 when Searle demanded the family keep the noise down when they moved in in 2004.


Outside the court Mrs Appleton said: "If you didn't know this lady's age, you'd think this harassment would have to stop.

"Then we tell people she's 81 and they laugh thinking it's a joke.

"People think she's a little old lady, she can't do or is not capable of these things and we're not treated seriously.

"She's continuously finding ways to overstimulate her parrot for days on end by playing the television loudly and is using it as a weapon."

She added: "This constant noise from her parrot is akin to Chinese torture as there is no escaping the very loud piercing noises it makes in a continuous repertoire over and over."

Searle played loud music or put on her TV "to keep the bird stimulated", Mrs Appleton added.

The nightmare neighbour would also leave her back door and windows open so the bird noise could be heard in the Appletons' house, she claimed.

Searle, who has lived in her house since 1977, was given a community order in 2017 for throwing dog poo into the Appleton's garden.

The widow pleaded guilty to criminal damage and harassment halfway through a trial in December.

She was made subject to a restraining orders, as well as being sentenced to 70 days in prison, suspended for 12 months and told to pay £779.77 in costs and fines.