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Man admits public order offences during Fincham Remembrance Sunday commemoration

An annoyed neighbour of Fincham's church - described as a "ticking bomb" - burst in on a Remembrance Sunday service and launched a foul-mouthed rant.

Richard Neil Calvert, who suffers from severe tinnitus, was livid when the church bells started ringing after a night without sleep.

He "lost it" and went in to the church to protest. When asked to leave by an 80-year-old man, Calvert continued to swear and threatened him.

Fincham Church. (24670796)
Fincham Church. (24670796)

The 51-year-old appeared before magistrates in Lynn this morning to plead guilty to two public order offences.

Prosecuting, Robyn Khan said: "The congregation was getting into church at 10.30am. There were about 30 people including members of the RAF and children."

Miss Khan described how Calvert came in shouting "profanities".

The elderly gentleman then approached to ask him to leave, but Calvert replied: "Don't you ******* touch me or I'll do for you."

Miss Khan added: "The gentleman is 80 years old and the defendant was so aggressive in his demeanour that he half-expected to be hit. The incident was said to last two to three minutes.

"It has put a lot of people off attending the church in future and for others there is concern every time the door clicks."

Miss Khan said there was an injunction against Calvert regarding gravestones leaning against a wall between the two properties.

Mitigating, solicitor Liam Edwards said his client was "deeply ashamed" by his behaviour.

He said it had not been pre-meditated and Calvert had forgotten it was Remembrance Day.

The court was also told Calvert had become frustrated after not receiving replies to emails about the church.

Mr Edwards said: "The defendant lives next door to the church and there's a history between the church and Mr Calvert going back a year or more.

"He's been trying to get the church to reduce the noise pollution that comes out of the bells ringing.

"He suffers from a particularly severe form of tinnitus and noises are excruciatingly painful. The night before he had not slept at all and the bells started ringing again on Sunday morning."

Referring to the disturbance, Mr Edwards added: "This was inevitable. This man was a ticking bomb. What happened on that morning really had nothing to do with Remembrance Sunday but clearly it's unfortunate it happened on that day."

He went on to describe Calvert's poor health of late and said the defendant had taken two significant steps to prevent a repeat - he had moved out of the family home in High Street and engaged with a psychologist.

Presiding magistrate Louise Gayton told Calvert: "This must have been very distressing for the congregation, especially on that significant day.

"However, we have heard the mitigating circumstances and we have taken into account your guilty plea."

Calvert was given a 12-month conditional discharge. He was ordered to pay £100 compensation to the elderly gentleman, £85 costs and a £21 victim surcharge.

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