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schizophrenia Man harassed neighbours after he stopped taking medication, court hears


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A MAN started harassing his neighbours after he became convinced that a female friend of his had moved into their house, a court has heard.

John Harding (43) suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but he had gone off his medication because he was trying to lose weight.

One of the side effects of the medication was weight gain, Swords District Court heard.

Judge Dermot Dempsey adjourned sentencing for six months and ordered Harding not to have any contact with the victims.

The defendant, of Abbywell, Chapel Road, Kinsealy, admitted harassing his neighbour and her adult daughter on dates between July 7, 2020, and September 22, 2020.

Garda Sarah Prendergast told the court the victim originally attended Malahide garda station in early 2020 complaining about a neighbour calling to her front door late at night.

Gda Prendergast said the woman did not make an official complaint at the time but she returned to the garda station later in 2020 claiming her neighbour was calling to her door uninvited and looking for a girl named "Leah".

On one occasion, Harding was waiting at the woman's front door when she and her daughter returned home from an evening out, Gda Prendergast said.

She told the court that two anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) had been served on Harding, warning him to stay away from his neighbours.

However, a number of incidents had occurred between the serving of the two Asbos, she said.

Gda Prendergast said there had been no further incidents in the last 16 months, and Harding had co-operated fully with the garda investigation.

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy said that Harding suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

One of the side effects of the medication was weight gain, and at the time of these incidents Harding had gone off his medication because he was trying to lose some weight.

The court heard that Harding got it into his head that a friend of his lived in the victims' house.

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Ms D'Arcy said Harding's behaviour was out of control at the time, and he now realised that he must never go off his medication again.

She also said Harding was very remorseful for his behaviour and for the way he had made his neighbours feel.

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