Neighbour who trashed widow's shrine given restraining order

Neighbour, 49, who trashed widow’s shrine to late husband in their shared garden is given two-year restraining order and told not to speak to her and stay ‘in hallway if he hears her outside’

  • Margaret Ilkovics built a shrine in Salford garden to her late husband Richard
  • Neighbour Anthony Kenyon placed ornaments in the bin and left acerbic notes
  • The 48-year-old described the shrine as an ‘affront’ to his own religious beliefs
  • Kenyon was issued with a two-year restraining at Manchester Magistrates’

A grieving widow has won a restraining order against her busybody neighbour after he trashed a shrine to her late husband in their communal garden.

Church volunteer Margaret Ilkovics, 57, had placed shrubs, ornaments and a memory box under a pussy willow tree in a communal garden as a ‘shrine’ to her late spouse Richard, who died of cancer at 54. 

But she was subjected to a ‘hate campaign’ by neighbour Anthony Kenyon, 48, who claimed the tribute at Regina Court in Salford was a ‘health and safety hazard’.

Kenyon is accused of uprooting her 3ft tree, purposefully killing her plants by spraying them in weedkiller, and damaging ornaments by dumping them in a wheelie bin while Mrs Ilkovics was away on holiday.   

The ex-social worker was also accused of writing the widow notes, claiming she had a ‘bogus husband’, suggesting she only married him for his money, and accusing her of shoplifting. 

One note, found attached to the shoebox of ornaments, said: ‘Please find enclosed the funeral ornaments you placed without permission. 

‘Said items I’m reliably informed are supposed to be placed indoors either side of an urn for example.

Margaret Ilkovics, 57, had placed shrubs, ornaments and a memory box under a pussy willow tree in a communal garden as a ‘shrine’ to her late spouse Richard, who died of cancer at 54

But she was subjected to a ‘hate campaign’ by neighbour Anthony Kenyon, 48, who claimed the tribute at Regina Court in Salford was a ‘health and safety hazard’

Kenyon is accused of uprooting her 3ft tree, killing her plants by spraying them in weedkiller, and damaging ornaments by dumping them in a wheelie bin while Mrs Ilkovics was on holiday

‘Whilst one appreciates certain individuals placing such items and all manner of other rubbish on graves, it is not acceptable in a domestic garden.

‘You have caused not only an affront to my religious beliefs but blocked access to the fire escape and wasted police time.’

He once ‘ranted and raved’ at Mrs Ilkovics through a window at his flat and phoned ambulances to her home wrongly claiming she had a severe mental illness and needed ‘taking away’, court was told. 

At Manchester Magistrates’ Court, Kenyon was issued with a two-year restraining order after JPs suggested he avoid his neighbour by putting out his rubbish bins at different times and temporarily waiting inside his hallway if he heard her going outside.

MailOnline previously reported how he was convicted of harassment between September 2018 and February 2019 but was cleared of assaulting Mrs Ilkovics by throwing a dog toy at her. He denied any wrongdoing.

Mrs Ilkovics had married her husband in June 2018 as he lay terminally ill in hospital and he died the following month.

But she fell out with Kenyon when she set up the shrine outside their respective homes in the apartment complex which houses the elderly or those with disabilities.

Mrs Ilkovics told JPs: ‘Before Rick got ill we planted a little pussy willow in 2016 and after his death I put a few things that were a tribute to him – plastic hearts, flowers and such like.

‘The little heart had ‘sadly missed’ on it and there was a little angel and a little heart with flowers that my friend gave me to put there. It was something to put there in honour of my late husband – it wasn’t a great big tribute it was just three little ornaments.

Margaret Ilkovics, 57, had placed shrubs, ornaments and a memory box under a pussy willow tree in a communal garden as a ‘shrine’ to her late spouse Richard, who died of cancer at 54

‘When Mr Kenyon originally moved into his flat I had personally asked him does he mind if I worked on the garden and put things in it and his answer was: ‘you can do anything you want with it – I’m not into gardening.’

‘I like a nice garden it is therapeutic for me. But the first thing was I received was note in the box I had made which was saying I only married Rick for his money and that he was a ‘bogus’ husband.

‘My sister had invited me over to Portugal for a week but when It got back, a neighbour was at the door waiting for me she said: ‘they are on the bin’ and I saw a note about the ornaments.

‘I felt very upset as it was about my husband and my husband was my life. What Mr Kenyon was saying about the ornaments was horrible.

‘How can an ornament cause a fire hazard? I reported it to the housing association but I received three more notes saying hateful and nasty things about me having second and third hand stuff in the garden – that I was this, that and the other.

‘One was pinned to the dolls outside my front door. I had bought some slates as I thought the turf was dying but it was due to weed killer.

‘I had seen him spraying weed killer on the garden on a number of occasions – why should he use weed killer on the garden knowing it would kill my plants that I took pride in?

‘It has affected me a lot. I have depression and anxiety and at one stage I wanted to kill myself. I couldn’t live with the pain of what he was doing to what once was mine and my husband’s pride and joy.

‘It hurt a lot losing my husband and it still hurts now. It then really hurts when I look at what this man has done outside my front door.

‘He could have knocked on my door instead of ripping them up and putting them in a black shoe box on top of my bin.

‘It’s disgusting and horrible to have to live with. I lie awake all night thinking he is going to do something and most of the time I’m right.

He went berserk on everything and he couldn’t have a conversation with you. He would just shout things like ‘can you get rid of those things?’

‘I was told to remove the dolls from the front door they said it was blocking a fire exit. They had been screwed down but they got broken into pieces by Mr Kenyon. There was one left near my bin shed with all horrible stuff tipped on it.

Kenyon is accused of uprooting her 3ft tree, killing her plants by spraying them in weedkiller, and damaging ornaments by dumping them in a wheelie bin while Mrs Ilkovics was on holiday

Margaret Ilkovics, 57, had placed shrubs, ornaments and a memory box under a pussy willow tree in a communal garden as a ‘shrine’ to her late spouse Richard, who died of cancer at 54

‘On one occasion my friend’s daughter paid for me to go to Costa Del Sol to get a break. I had not long been back home when I got a knock on my door at 6am and there was loads of banging outside.

‘I knew it would be something to do with Anthony Kenyon. I soon found everything smashed up and pulled up again – the trellis with the roses, the rose bush, the trellis around the garden. The fencing all smashed up.

‘The pussy willow had been twisted as if it had tried to drag it out and I nearly fainted. I was anxious and upset because that was the last thing that I could remember my husband by.

‘Mr Kenyon was was talking through the window, ranting and raving about my roses on the ground being at his doorstep and using terrible language. I don’t know what he was talking about.

‘He was mentioning Rick’s name all the time and calling him names. He didn’t even know Rick who was a wonderful man. I have become a hermit in my own home I don’t feel as if my own home is my home anymore. But I won’t leave as it has got my memories of my husband.’

In his defence Kenyon admitted posting notes but denied uprooting the tree and plants and claimed his behaviour had ‘zero impact’ on the victim.

He plans to appeal against the conviction and told the hearing: ‘The garden was being loaded and loaded with so many things, it was looking a mess.

‘I had to attend a hospital emergency department because I hit my head on one of her great hanging baskets whilst I was going to put the rubbish out. That notes were to make her aware that what she had done was dangerous and inconsiderate.’

Defence lawyer David Philpott said his client would be staying in his home but added: ‘Mr Kenyon would like to highlight that he and the lady are just ignoring each other whilst going about their daily business now.’

Kenyon was also ordered to complete a 12 months community order including 24 rehabilitation requirement days. He was also fined £150 and told to pay £535 in costs and surcharges.

JP Sarfraz Malik told him: ‘Take all precautions necessary. Put the bins out at different times, if you hear her door going wait till she’s gone out. You need to get around these difficulties – it’s as simple as that.’

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