A ROW over laundry at a sheltered accommodation complex saw an angry man swear and throw socks at a recently widowed pensioner.
Alan Gilmartin, 61, lost his temper over the rota drawn up for washing clothes at the accommodation in Douglas Place and Larch Way in Saltney.
The victim – a woman in her 70s – was greatly upset by what had taken place and the act led to Gilmartin being evicted and prosecuted for a public order offence.
Gilmartin, who must give up his flat next month, currently lives with his daughter in Ewart Street, Saltney.
He admitted a public order offence at Flintshire Magistrates Court.
Magistrates, who said it was very sad he was being evicted from his home because of a falling out with neighbours, gave him a two-year conditional discharge.
He was ordered to pay £100 prosecution costs and £100 compensation to the victim for the distress he had caused her.
The court heard following the incident on February 6, Gilmartin had received a notice to quit by June 16.
Alun Humphreys, prosecuting, said there had clearly been a dispute at the warden-supervised accommodation about the use of the communal laundrette at Douglas Place.
As a result, everyone was given a two-hour slot when they could do their washing.
Victim Edna Lockley, 72, had her slot on a Thursday between 8am and 10am and Gilmartin followed on from 10am and noon.
That morning she put on her wash and went to the home of a neighbour, Margaret Roberts, who was about the same age.
They saw Gilmartin knock on Mrs Lockley’s door, although she did not go out to see him in order to avoid a confrontation.
She returned to the laundrette after 9.30am to put in a second load when Gilmartin appeared and was clearly agitated.
“He clearly lost his self-control,” Mr Humphreys said.
He was swearing and complaining the laundrette door had been locked,
Gilmartin claimed there was an empty slot which he could have used.
Later interviewed by a housing officer, he admitted he had “lost it”, he removed her washing from the machine and threw a pair of socks at her.
Mrs Lockley felt so intimidated she pulled the emergency cord.
Three wardens attended and eventually they calmed Mr Gilmartin down.
Mrs Lockley, who was very upset, was taken from the scene.
In a victim impact statement she told how she now looked over her shoulder while going to the laundrette but had not seen him since.
Stephen Coupe, defending, said Gilmartin was by nature a boisterous character, rather larger-than-life and came across that way in general conversation.
Gilmartin had lived at Larch Way for two years but was unlikely to contest the
eviction notice, which meant he would be homeless and would have to find new accommodation.
There had been issues. A rota was drawn up and it was his recollection that details should be put on a board so that everyone knew where they were.
That day, he checked the board and found it empty.
He took the view he could do his washing earlier but the laundrette was locked up.
“What may have started off as a trivial disagreement about the timing of the washing boiled over,” Mr Coupe said.
“He accepts he lost his temper and he used obscenities.”
An earlier charge of assault, which he denied, was dropped when he admitted the public order offence.
See full story in the Chester Leader