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Home / Latest News / Former House of Lords advisor on trial for harassment tells court he owns fire arms and various explosives

Former House of Lords advisor on trial for harassment tells court he owns fire arms and various explosives

A former House of Lords specialist advisor currently on trial for harassment told a court he has a weapons collection that includes “shotguns and various explosives”.

Desmond Hughes, 65, of Began Road, Old St Mellons, who is accused of directing CCTV cameras on his next-door neighbours’ property, claimed he had mounted the devices after receiving “security advice”.

Both Hughes and his partner Clare Anderson, of the same address, pleaded not guilty at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court to harassment without violence.

Prosecuting barrister Adam Corbin told the court that the Hancock family saw “a campaign waged against them” by next-door neighbours Hughes and Anderson since they moved into their home in 2011.

This saw Hughes and Anderson aim security cameras at their garden and drive-way, “stare” at the Mr and Mrs Hancock’s teenage daughter through her bedroom window and report the family to the police for what Mr Corbin said was “no good reasons”.

In Hughes’ evidence, he told the court that security was the reason behind him fitting the outdoor cameras and that he was also in possession of a “regularly inspected” weapons collection.

“I think everyone knows I have fire arms, shot guns and various explosives,” he said.

“My security advice comes from the security industry as well as senior officers from ex-forces.”

Hughes told the court that he had three cameras attached to both the front and back of his property when the Hancocks moved in.

When quizzed by defending barrister Giles Newell about the cameras, Hughes said they were there “for added security to the premises”.

Tania Hancock, 18, had previously told the court on Thursday that the cameras had been trained on her family’s property until this year, making her feel uneasy.

She told District Judge Bodfan Jenkins that in 2011 she saw surveillance cameras aimed “on to our back garden” and “pointed directly on to our drive”.

“It was directly angled,” she said. “It wasn’t pointed on to his property – just ours.”

But yesterday, 65-year-old Hughes said he had “never had cause to” point the cameras in the direction of either the Hancock’s garden or driveway.

“They’re just placed there and that was the end of it as they were placed there in 2006,” he said.

Hughes said there was one camera mounted on the front of the house that was rigged to a monitor for the couple to see any disturbances in their drive.

But he said most of the six cameras “were just sitting there” and “not connected”, with the police finding no evidence of recordings after a house search.

The court also heard how the couple had made a complaint to the police about a “half naked man”, namely Nick Hancock, assembling a trampoline by the wall of his own back garden.

“There’s no conduct there with which the police need to be concerned,” said Mr Corbin.

“There’s just a man in the back building a trampoline.”

But Anderson disagreed, saying: “There was a privacy element in that anyone who would use the trampoline would have a clear view of my sitting room and my kitchen.”

When Mr Corbin put it to Anderson that the couple’s complaints to the police were a way of getting “back at them for the complaints they had made”, she vehemently denied it.

“Not at all, no,” she said.

In his closing remarks, Mr Newell said that both Hughes and Anderson had no previous convictions and that the situation between the couple and the Hancock family had “become melodramatic”.

Judge Jenkins adjourned the case until next Wednesday, July 17, when a judgement is expected to be made.

The case continues.

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