A MOTORIST has been found guilty of attacking a neighbour during a parking dispute in a residential street in Newton Abbot.

Connor Bain punched resident Karl Reichel after they argued in Tudor Road three days after an earlier confrontation close to Bain’s home in the adjoining George Street in which he had blocked in Mr Reichel’s car.

The second incident started when Mr Reichel shouted at Bain when he saw him as a passenger in a car which drove past his home apparently looking for a parking space.

Bain got out of the Honda Civic and punched Mr Reichel as they stood either side of his front gate, breaking his jaw and knocking him sideways into a rose bush. 

He claimed he was acting in self defence because Mr Reichel had pushed him three times and he was worried he may use an empty wine bottle from his recycling to attack him.

His account was rejected by a jury at Exeter Crown Court after the prosecution argued that he had not been under any threat and was able to walk away when he threw the punch.

Bain, aged 29, of Newton Abbot, denied assault causing grievous bodily harm but was convicted and will be sentenced by Judge Anna Richardson at Taunton Crown Court next month.

During the three-day trial, the jury heard that Mr Reichel was putting out his recycling bin on the afternoon of Saturday May 14, 2022 when he saw Bain drive past as passenger in the car driven by his brother.

He thought they were looking for a parking space and shouted at him that he was a hypocrite because of the incident three days earlier in which Mr Reichel’s car was blocked in George Street.

He had not been aware that his residents’ parking permit only allowed him to park in Tudor Road and not George Street. 

He said Bain and his brother had moved their cars to let him out but only after Bain lectured him about the restrictions and showed him the signage. 

Bain responded to Mr Reichel shouting at him through the open car window by getting out to confront him and then by punching him in the face, breaking his jaw.

Bain told the jury Mr Reichel pushed him repeatedly and he warned him that he would punch him before throwing a single blow.

Mr Thomas Faulkner, prosecuting, said Mr Reichel moved to Tudor Road late in 2021 and did not realise his parking permit did not include George Street until his car was blocked in by Bain on May 11, 2022.

He did not know Bain but found him and was able to move his car after being ‘lectured’ about parking in the street. The incident in Tudor Road happened three days later.

South African Mr Reichel told the jury there was a verbal argument that ended in Bain getting out and confronting him over his garden gate.

He said: ‘There was an exchange of words and I tried to say he was full of nonsense, but it came out wrong and I called him a nonce. 

‘I asked him why he had a go at me when other people in the neighbourhood were doing the same thing.

‘There were words exchanged between us and he punched me. It was straight to the jaw. I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t think he was going to do that. I did not retaliate.’

He said he needed an operation the following week to fit a plate into his jaw. 

He denied pushing Bain or making any physical threat before he was hit.

Bain gave evidence that he was the passenger in his brother’s car when he saw a man who he did not recognise gesticulating in the street.

They thought he was indicating a parking space and reversed where he was standing but then saw it was someone who was shouting foul-mouthed abuse and making one-fingered gestures. 

He said he could smell alcohol on Mr Reichel’s breath as he leant into the car and invited him to get out. He then spoke to him over his gate before being pushed three times.

He said: ‘He was effing and blinding and slurring his words. 

‘He called me a liar and a nonce, I said not to get near me because his breath stank. He pushed me back. I wasn’t expecting that and stumbled a bit. 

‘I stepped forward again and told him not to touch me. He pushed me again and I told him if he did it again I was going to hit him. He pushed me and I hit him. I swung my fist sideways. I guess it was five or six out of 10 in force.

‘I felt threatened. There was a bin full of empty wine bottles next to him and I didn’t want to give him the opportunity to grab one of them and cause me serious harm.’ 

Bain said Mr Reichel fell into a rose bush and he had just grabbed him and picked him up when his partner, who had been stood further up the road, came to separate them