A “NEIGHBOUR from hell” was ordered to pay £1,500 damages plus costs today to a woman she intimidated and harassed for years.

Wendy Schwegmann said she was scared to leave her home after her neighbour Jacqueline Copsey launched herself at her in the street, grabbing her neck, scratching her face, throat and chest and pulling out chunks of hair on February 5 this year.

In documents put before the Central London County Court today, she said Ms Copsey had said: “Now I'm going to get you” and swore at her before grabbing her neck and throat.

She claimed the defendant often intimidated her with verbal insults during a campaign of harassment which has lasted since she moved in to Gobions Way, Potters Bar at the turn of the century.

But after the attack she said she felt scared to leave her home and was in genuine fear of further violence from Ms Copsey, 42, a postwoman.

On police advice and after they decided not to continue with the case because of a lack of evidence, Ms Schwegmann took out a restraining order in Barnet County Court against her neighbour.

Ms Copsey disputed the assault and filed a counterclaim of harassment, trespass and criminal damage against Ms Schwegmann, 56, a journalist.

The row between the two and other neighbours had escalated after a dispute over hedges.

Ms Schwegmann found her hedge had been poisoned, her house grafittied and her car scratched.

On one occasion, the couple claimed Ms Copsey and her late partner had abused visitors to their house.

In his statement, Ms Schwegmann's husband, Paul Radford said: “They stood outside their house, dressed in military style fatigues and wearing baseball caps, effing and blinding at the car's occupants who looked terrified.”

They also claimed the couple set off car alarms, hooted the horn of their car and left their television on top volume to disturb neighbours.

Ms Copsey denied the claims and accused Ms Schwegmann of taking indecent pictures of her children while they were in the garden, despite not having any children of her own.

Mr Radford, 63 and also a journalist, said that after the attack his wife became depressed.

“Jacqueline Copsey is the classic neighbour from hell that you read about in the newspapers and never imagine will ever be living almost next door to you. She strikes me as belligerent, irrational and paranoid.”

But despite her counter claim, Ms Copsey failed to turn up to court, in Park Crescent, Regents Park, this morning, after leaving a message on her counsel's voicemail late last night to say she was ill and suffering from stress.

After an adjournment District Judge Brian Knight threw out her counterclaim and found for Ms Schwegmann after her and her husband took the stand, saving 12 other witnesses from needing to appear.

He also extended the restraining order which stops her going near or talking to the couple for 12 months, starting today.

He said: “I'm very sorry that this has come for trial at all and I regret that having got so far there has been no resolution in terms of evidence.”

Ms Copsey must now pay £1,500 damages, £750 legal fees for failing to respond to 11 lawyers' requests for documents and £3,500 immediately on account to pay for Ms Schwegmann's legal costs, which are thought will total £12,000.

Speaking outside the court Ms Schwegmann, said she was very pleased and thought the judgement was fair.

“It's gone on for so many years and it's been a really unpleasant way to live. It really is wonderful that we have been vindicated.”