Bournemouth: Moment pensioner keys £60,000 car
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Vengeful pensioner Keith Ardley, 75, was caught red handed on CCTV using a key to etch lines into his neighbour’s £60,000 Lexus car following an “unfriendly” dispute over the neighbour trying to form a resident’s association. Mr Ardley was said to be jealous of neighbour Marius Crisan’s car while harbouring other resentments. He once told Mr Crisan to “pipe down and keep a low profile” after trying to start a residents’ association because he was “new on the block”, a prosecutor has said in court.
Ardley, a retired council IT worker, was spotted on CCTV subtly dragging his key along a black Lexus 450h Hybrid, parked outside the block of flats where the two neighbours lived.
The video shows him holding a key in his right hand while scoring three intermittent lines into the side of the car.
The two started to clash after Mr Crisan, 40, moved into the block and tried to set up a residents’ association.
Mr Crisan saw what Ardley had done the next day and requested the security company in charge of the CCTV at Wimbledon Hall in Bournemouth, Dorset, to look at the footage.
Ardley was prosecuted for causing £1,000 worth of criminal damage to his neighbour’s car.
He denied the offence and in Poole Magistrates Court told magistrates he “never tells lies”. His wife gave evidence to help defend Mr Ardley.
According to prosecutor Jason Spelman, many of the excuses for the footage “didn’t make sense”.
One such excuse was that he was “simply running his fingers” over the car to feel for scratches his wife said she had seen a day before the incident, Spelman told the magistrates.
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During his defence, Ardley told the court: “In just four seconds I ran my fingers along the scratches, but it was only along half of the car.
“Even then I couldn’t have scratched the car because the keys in my hand were in a leather pouch.
“I never lie, me and my wife have always told the truth.”
But Mr Spelman, who confirmed the court had the video which “clearly shows the defendant scoring lines into the car”, said: “You’re telling a big lie now aren’t you?
“How likely is it that you immediately found them as you walked along the car?
“In the footage we can see that you paid no real attention to the car at all.
“You were being furtive because you thought that nobody was watching and that you would get away with it.
“Were you jealous of Mr Crisan with his expensive car?”
Spelman recalled the unpleasant chat the two had had when Mr Crisan tried to form the residents’ association.
He told the magistrates Mr Ardley had told Mr Crisan to “pipe down and keep a low profile” because he was “new to the block”.
Mr Ardley was found guilty in light of the CCTV footage.
But Debbie Scudmore, mitigating for Mr Ardley, told the court the man was of good character and informed them he had no previous convictions.
The presiding magistrate, Daniel Church, took the argument into consideration and read letters from Mr Ardley’s old colleagues who vouched for the man’s integrity.
But he concluded there were “significant inconsistencies” in the evidence given.
He said: “In your statement given to the police you said that your wife showed you where the scratch was on the car as you walked past.
“In the footage she never looks back at you and she wasn’t even aware that you had touched the car.
“The CCTV did not show you feeling the car with your fingertips.
“I am satisfied that you did scratch the car and I do find you guilty of the charge of criminal damage.”
Mr Ardley was told to pay Mr Crisan £1,000 in compensation and £620 to cover the trial costs.
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