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Does anyone else have weird neighbours?


Lisa O`Brien
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Our terraced houses are virtually on top of each other. While our street is fortunate in that we have no houses opposite us only a field,to the back of the houses are the back rooms of the neighbour`s houses in the next street. Switch the kitchen light on and you can see in the neighbour`s kitchen , and they vice versa. I only have a small window in the kitchen, but I soon noticed when I moved in that you can practically see what people at the back of my house are cooking for dinner. To make matter`s worse,the couple opposite,their kitchen sink is right in front of their window,so whenever they are at the kitchen sink it looks like they are staring into our house. I put up a piece of net curtain years ago and this alleviated that problem. Or so I thought. My bedroom, being the larger room was at the front of the house,and my son Sean had always had one of the two smaller bedrooms at the back . However me and Sean switched bedrooms about ten months ago as my mattress was giving me jip with my back, and Sean`s newer mattress was much more comfortable. It has suited us both well. He likes the extra space [of course] for his X Box and all his gadgets and I like the smaller,comfier room next to the back garden. There`s one drawback though. The neighbour`s husband [she`s lovely,and works in the local Chinese takeway],well he very quickly noticed that it was me in the back bedroom ,not Sean. Then next thing,[always when his wife is at work most evenings] I get confronted with a very large widescreen TV placed practically up to his bedroom window every night ,showing hardcore porn. The TV may as well have been in our house,as I could see everything just as clearly as if it was. Now i`m not a prude, and thought nothing more of it. Except that it kept on happening more and more. Then I would have someone leave a hardcore porn magazine on the mat outside my back door.[someone hadn`t just thrown it over the fence,they must have physically come into my back garden and strategically placed it on the mat]. Again, I ignored it. One summer morning,quite early,I opened my blinds, to find the man opposite sitting in a sunlounger ,wearing a dressing gown, but with the dressing gown undone, and nothing on underneath it. I went this evening to close the blinds in the dining room. Sean had put the living room light on, closed the living room blinds, but left the dining room blinds open,for the neighbours to see right in. I went into the dining room about half an hour later to close the blinds, only to be confronted by the neighbour standing at his window; looking at me, stark bollock naked.[Excuse my language]. His wife is the lovliest person. One day I nearly went up to her and said,"Do you know what your husband gets up to when you are working in the takeaway every night?" But I just didn`t have the heart to. As I said,she is so nice. I don`t want to either embarrass or upset her. Does anyone else have weird neighbours, or is it just me???

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I know what you`re saying,Jane. Fortunately,next door to me one side is an elderly woman and next door to me the other side are two middle aged brothers. Trust me,if there was any way I thought any children could see what I can see then I definately would have done something about it before now. I`m very close to both neighbours either side,and none of them have ever mentioned anything they have seen, so I have said nothing to them. I just think he`s a sad, pervy git who must be going through some sort of mid life crisis or something.

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I agree with Jane - this is sexual harassment. Have you kept a note of dates (even approximate dates) when this behaviour occurred? I would go to the police and explain that you have ignored him in the hope that he would lose interest due to your lack of reaction but this is too much. What will his next move be? I don't mean to worry you but the behaviour is escalating and who knows where it will stop? Please report it and don't let anyone fob you off.

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I already keep the blinds in my bedroom permanently closed,so he can`t see me coming and going. A pity really, as I used to like the daylight coming through the window in the morning. The fact I have my blinds closed all the time means at least I don`t have to see what he is looking at. Plus it sends a clear message to him,I think,that I am not interested in watching the same thing he is watching. I even called Sean into the bedroom to see for himself one day. Not that I wanted my 17 year old son to be looking at pornography. But I kept going on about it to him, every time he did or I saw something else. This time I decided to let Sean have a look to see for himself, just in case he thought his mad old mother was imagining it or something.!! He just looked and went,"Oh my God".The thing is,i`ve chatted to him over the garden fence, and he seems dead on. They put up a new fence, and he put up a new gate for me,which was very nice of him. We sometimes have a bit of banter. He has a Liverpool football shirt ,as I see it drying on the clothes line sometimes. Him and his wife know i`m from the Old Trafford area of Manchester ,so there can often be a bit of friendly slagging off between the three of us. I do think he`s harmless,but it just makes me a bit fed up sometimes. But maybe there are thousands of blokes up and down the country who get up to all sorts when their wives are out. Maybe he`s being a "normal" bloke,I don`t know. 

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No he isn't being a normal bloke - would you feel comfortable hearing your son, brother or father behaved like this? You do need to report this. How will you feel if you hear he has escalated his behaviour and is caught having physically exposed himself to someone in the street? You should feel comfortable and safe in your own home. You are obviously distressed by this so need to contact the police.

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I DID a few months back ,try and say something to his wife. I had seen what he was watching [couldn`t avoid it,really].I went to the local supermarket. The Chinese takeway is virtually next door to the supermarket. Occasionally he is in there some evenings,helping his wife out,although i don`t think they own it. I was determined to say something to her.  I ordered some food,then said,"Is your husband not with you in here tonight then?" She looked really flustered and said,"Oh, me and Liam aren`t joined at the hip, you know", and sort of laughed it off. I was dying to say to her, "Yes, I know damn well you`re husband isn`t here, and I know exactly what he is getting up to as we speak". But the weirdest thing; I kind of got the impression she knew what I was alluding to. Just her reaction,you know? Other females have lived at this address before I moved in 7 years ago,so maybe it`s something he has done to previous females who have lived here.[All single women or single mothers,I gather]. But the wife`s reaction; very odd.

Edited by thequays
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Get your camera or phone, take a picture and go straight to the police with the evidence.  If this guy exposes himself to you and gets away with it he'll be gaining confidence to do it to others - perhaps more vulnerable women or even kids: this guy isn't weird he's potentially dangerous.

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We are frequently told these days, it seems, that it's fairly "normal" for men to look at porn. However, *this* sounds way beyond "normal" - and it is clearly having an impact on your life. You shouldn't be having to live with your blinds closed all the time so you can't see him and he can't see you. I agree that it is effectively harassment - although he may not see it that way. The situation calls to mind a former colleague of mine who acquired a stalker: he used to follow her back and forth between the station and the office - never used to say or do anything, but it got her feeling really worried, to the extent that she wouldn't leave the office on her own of an evening, and eventually she went to the police. They stopped him one day, had a quiet word and pointed out that his actions were causing her distress, and would he please stop it. He clearly hadn't realised the distress he was causing, and she never had any further problems after that.

 

Now, this man may be like that - or he may not. The situation seems to be escalating, and may continue to do so. It does sound as though his wife is aware to some extent of what he's doing, and is trying to ignore it, for reasons of her own. Maybe she's scared of him, maybe she's just trying not to rock the boat, doesn't realise the full import of what he's doing, or is worried about the effect it may have on her marriage if she does confront him on this - who knows? I'm no psychologist, although I could conceive of several distinctly unpleasant scenarios arising from this, but I think you at the very least need to have an informal discussion about the situation with the police - I can't think of anyone else who might be helpful - and see what they advise. You say you've said nothing, but I'd also be inclined to ask your next-door neighbours fairly straight out whether they're aware of previous occupants having problems with this man. And I presume from what you've said that the problem was totally non-existent when Sean was occupying the room, rather than that he simply hadn't noticed, but I think you need to clarify that, too.

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Thequays, this isn't normal, or even "just weird" - IMHO this guy is possibly already breaking the law, and he's certainly heading that way. You need to try to document his behaviour with approximate dates and write down everything that's happened. Just because he seems "dead on" and has put fences up etc for you is no excuse for indecent exposure and harassment. Please, I urge you to contact your local Neighbourhood Police officer and tell them exactly what's been going on.

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I get what you`re saying Spanner,but is he breaking the law if he is inside his own house? He might argue that what he gets up to in the privacy of his own home is nobody else`s business. He might say if I happen to catch sight of him naked or watching porn then that`s not his fault. Just trying to see things from his point of view. Not in any way to defend him; I think he`s a creep. But I once caught sight of him coming out of his kitchen . His kitchen light was on. He was completely naked. Maybe that`s what he`s in  to when his wife`s at work.  Me and friends of mine went to a nudist camp in the south of France decades ago; we were there for a month and people would look at you as if you were strange if you turned up at the camp`s supermarket wearing a bra and knickers.!! It was a bit strange the first day but after that,because everyone else was naked you would have looked silly if you had been dressed.  I`m digressing I know. But from a lawful or not point of view,I`m not sure if the police could do anything. If he isn`t breaking the law in any way.1] I would feel foolish for mentioning it. 2] He would by then be aware [possibly] that I had contacted the police and it might antagonise him. He`s friendly and OK. I wouldn`t want him to turn nasty.

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There have been a number of occasions when I have been tempted to push a note through the letterbox,saying "Please can you cover up,close your blinds,etc,as I can see everything". But what if his wife gets to the note first? I know that`s not my problem,and as I said,I get the feeling she may know or suspect something about her husband. In the end I didn`t and ignored it. Maybe the next time I see something I`ll pluck up the courage to write that note. At the moment though,as I said because my bedroom blinds are closed,I see nothing, and i`m happy enough with things like that. 

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I take your point that he may be entitled to do what he likes in his own home, although I'm not sure whether that includes the garden, in full view of the neighbours. However, you imply that he's actually (deliberately?) *moved* the TV so that it's visible to you - and there's the matter of the magazine to consider: it didn't land there by accident. Now, he may just be thinking it's a bit of a laugh and he's winding you up, or he may be getting some weird kick out of it, or worse.

 

Oh, and by the way, the ex-colleague I mentioned above was initially reluctant to go to the police because she thought she might be overreacting. When she did finally go, she found they took it a lot more seriously than she had, and told her she should have contacted them sooner. And that was probably 15 years or so ago.

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I get that he has the right to do/wear what he likes within the privacy of his own home BUT the key word here is privacy.  Plus the fact that this was not an issue whilst your son had that bedroom rather points to the fact that your neighbour is targeting you.  You have done everything you can to show you are not interested but I'm sorry I do not think he is getting the message.  There is a difference between liking walking around your home in the nude and deliberately placing yourself where others can see you, not to mention the magazine incident.  I'm sorry but I agree with the others that this is something you should report.  Perhaps a quiet word from someone 'official' will make him realise that his behaviour is having an impact on you and your life and someone else saying it might be easier than trying to talk to/write to him or his wife as I am sure that his defence will be to make you feel foolish and prudish as he laughs it off.  I understand that you are worried he will turn 'nasty' but I have to say his behaviour already seems to be escalating - he has gone from inside the home, to outdoors to a magazine on your property.  It could be him on your backdoor step next time if getting away with it is making him braver - or as someone else said the next move could be exposing himself out on the street to someone.  I would also be inclined to talk to your neighbours - or at least the elderly woman.  Have you perhaps thought that this could be distressing for her also or quite intimidating and she may be too embarrassed to say anything to anyone.  Especially if she lives alone as you have your son with you.  I wish you luck and bucket loads of courage but I do think you need to speak to the police/community support officers/Citizens Advice as I don't see this situation improving otherwise.

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I googled the legal definitition of Indecent Exposure; and found this:

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/66

 

Interesting reading. In my humble opinion it could reasonably be assumed from what you've said that by sitting in the garden - facing your house? - he *intended* you to see that he was naked from the waist down. It certainly seems - quite reasonably - to be concerning you. If I were you I would certainly discuss your concerns and options with the Police. No question.

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I agree with everyone else, this is not normal behaviour and is certainly causing you distress. Perhaps you could ask someone from your local council,  Neighbourhood Watch scheme or a community Police officer to come round one evening and see for themselves. You really need an independent witness other than your son to back you up.

 

The other thing is - there's a good chance this will be taken seriously by the police, so it might be best not to say too much about it on social media as it may jeopardise the situation legally.

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I've just asked advice from lawyer nephew and he says don't take photographs, you could find yourself in all kinds of trouble. He says you need an independent witness and to log everything with dates and times. Also - he asked what you did with the magazine, as you should have kept it as evidence.

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Definitely agree with taxi4ballet on the photos front. Nudity is not illegal - the suspect part of his behaviour is that he chooses his moments and seems to be targeting you - ie not when his wife is home and not when your son had the room. It is the deliberate nature of his actions that is suspect and it would be the same the other way round - if you accidentally or unavoidably see a naked neighbour is a completely different situation to if you take photos or stay in darkened rooms so that the person does not know they are being watched.

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I've just asked advice from lawyer nephew and he says don't take photographs, you could find yourself in all kinds of trouble. He says you need an independent witness and to log everything with dates and times. Also - he asked what you did with the magazine, as you should have kept it as evidence.

The magazine is still in the back garden. Not near the back door but near the fence,getting wet. I was going to throw it back over to the fence to him but his wife is in the garden more than he is hanging out clothes. It would have been so obvious it would have come from the direction of my back garden and I didn`t want her thinking,what the hell???

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Not heard of this "Naked Rambler" MAB. But if he is rambling around outdoors I suppose it is completely different,where anyone including children,can see him. I guess my neighbour is legally allowed to be naked in his own home ,and do whatever he wants. Provided of course,that the neighbours can`t see and it isn`t causing them any distress,I suppose.

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Just been on 192.com and got his full name. I`ve noted it down. I might contact a local elected Councillor I know. He is from this area,and seeing as how everyone in this village knows everyone else,i`d be surprised if he hasn`t at least heard of this man. I could do with a proper long chat with him though,not just a quick message on Facebook.[He was very close friends with Sean`s late father].

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that sounds like a good idea.

 

MAB - nudity itself is not illegal but it does depend on where and why and if asked to cover up by a policeman you are supposed to do so. I believe the laws in Scotland are stricter on this than in England and Wales and that is where the Naked Rambler had most of his problems - and because he refused to cover up when asked to do so - even when he appeared naked in court. I believe it is to do with how it is perceived in the public place that you appear naked and if it is intended to or likely to cause distress or offence to the general public. "Outraging public decency" is the term I think for common law.

 

 

Edited to add that as a family we looked it up about 4 or 5 years ago in order to answer the question to our kids as to why there was a naked man on the plinth of Nelson's Column and the police left him there.

Edited by 2dancersmum
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Yes about the magazine. It was open and folded over onto a specific page showing a woman doing something to a man. I was thinking,does he want me to do that to him, is that what he`s trying to say? Because it`s not going to happen,not now,not ever.

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  • 3 months later...

My neighbour is back to his old tricks. It`s been lovely the last few months. The blinds have been permanently closed in their back bedroom,and ,just to be on the safe side,I have kept mine permanently closed too. I`m preparing the roast potatoes for tomorrow [Easter Sunday`s] lunch. Thought i`d do them tonight,then I just have to do the turkey and veg when I get up tomorrow and it will be one less thing to do. I have the back door open to let the heat out so the smoke alarm doesn`t go off,as it goes off at the slightest thing. Obviously, my kitchen light is on. Guess who has been standing ,with his bathroom blinds drawn widely open, at the bathroom window, completely naked for the last 10 minutes or so and hasn`t moved? Yep, you guessed it. Of course,it is Saturday night so i`m assuming his wife is away working at the Chinese takeaway tonight [which I haven`t used now for months. I am on a diet at the mo so no Chinese for me anyway,but before I started my diet I went to another nearby one and vowed to never use the one where his wife and occasionally he ,works]. Tonight,as i`m par boiling the potatoes ready for roasting them I am back and forward near the back door, and I know he can see me. He`s just standing there,starkers. Freak. I don`t want to close the back door. I want to let the heat out while i`m cooking or else the kitchen[i don`t have an extractor fan] will be a haze of  steam. I don`t see why I should close my back door . I`ve just come into the living room to "get away from him" and to type this. I shouldn`t have to live like this,should I?  Fed up.

Edited by thequays
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Well, speaking as someone whose nephew is in the CID (with a lot of involvement in similar cases), and whose husband and sister both work in Probation (ditto), I know that is what they would all advise.

 

Possibly he takes your non-action so far as tacit acceptance/encouragement (obviously we know that isn't the case, but he doesn't). How long before he takes it a step further? I'm sure, given what you have described, that the police wouldn't think you were overreacting.

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