A dispute between two middle-class neighbours ended up in court after they came to blows over cat poo. Douglas Pidgeon, 60, became so fed up with his next-door neighbour's pet fouling in his garden that he threw a lump back over the hedge. When Matthew Lucas, 38, discovered the unsightly mess he confronted the Mr Pidgeon and the pair became embroiled in a "tussle" outside their homes. They drew blood as they smashed heads, slicing the skin on the bridge of Mr Lucas's nose and injuring Mr Pidgeon's forehead. The fight was eventually broken up by Mr Lucas's wife, Karen, who lodged a complaint with police, alleging 5ft 7ins Mr Pidgeon had head-butted her 6ft 4ins husband. The case was hauled before a court for a day-long trial where the Mr Pidgeon was cleared of any wrongdoing after magistrates failed to agree the act was deliberate.
"The cat comes in and uses the garden as a toilet," Mr Pidgeon told the court. "I went out to cut the grass and I scooped it up and lobbed it over the fence, I didn't think anything more about it. I know it was their cat. I just threw it that was it, I didn't really think about it to be honest." Chippenham Magistrates Court in Wiltshire heard how the incident happened on August 5 last year when Mr Lucas returned to his home in Chippenham with his two children. But when he opened the patio doors to allow them to play in the garden his five-year-old daughter discovered cat faeces on the garden table. Furious Mr Lucas immediately cleared up the mess - but had to wait two hours, until 8.30pm, when his wife returned home, before he could confront his neighbour. Mrs Lucas said: "I came home and my husband said my daughter had witnessed what she thought was mud on the garden table.
"He said he went out to the garden and looked at it and realised it was cat faeces covered in grass, and realised it must have been thrown on to our table. He was not aggressive, he was quite shocked and surprised by the situation. I said you need to speak to the neighbour about this, my daughter is five, if she had touched this it could have blinded her. I was shocked and upset my daughter could have been put at risk by this. He said he was going to go speak to him and left there and then. He was not aggressive at all. Obviously he was quite annoyed by the situation and I was quite upset about it too." She added: "Mr Pidgeon admitted straight away, he said, 'yes I did throw the cat poo over the hedge. I am fed up of the cat coming in my garden'. My husband then raised his finger and pointed at Mr Pidgeon and said, 'I am not very happy about that, my daughter could have been blinded'. He was quite upset obviously. It all happened so quickly then."
The court heard that both men claimed to have been "speaking normally" when the confrontation began and each blamed one another for the start of the fight. Mr Pidgeon alleges his neighbour prodded him forcefully to the chest before starting to "grapple" with him on the door step. While Mr Lucas claims the 60-year-old head-butted him as soon as he confronted the situation, causing him to restrain his neighbour through fear of another attack. The fight was only broken up after Mrs Lucas rushed to her husband's aid, telling Mr Pidgeon: "You are as old as my dad and acting in that behaviour is disgusting". Mr Pidgeon was cleared of assault by beating after a one-day trial on Monday. Roger Coleman, chairman of the bench, said: "We cannot find, beyond reasonable doubt, that the head-butt was a deliberate act. We find any contact of heads was accidental in the course of the struggle that occurred between the parties."