East Lothian couple recorded neighbours hundreds of times during alleged hate campaign

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David and Jacqueline Aston are claimed to have terrorised their next door neighbours.

An East Lothian author and his wife recorded their neighbours movements an incredible 248 times - including 67 in just one day - during an alleged three year hate campaign, a court heard last week.

David Aston, 55, and wife Jacqueline, 58, are claimed to have terrorised their next door neighbours by repeatedly filming and photographing them and making malicious reports to the police.

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Mr and Mrs Aston are also said to have spread shocking rumours that one set of residents had abused their children and were dealing drugs from their home at a plush estate in North Berwick, East Lothian.

Blackadder Crescent in North Berwick, East LothianBlackadder Crescent in North Berwick, East Lothian
Blackadder Crescent in North Berwick, East Lothian | Alex Lawrie

Residents told a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court they were left stunned after discovering David Aston had written a novel where a stroke victim called Dave develops superpowers and seeks revenge on his neighbours.

Mr Aston, a former chartered accountant, penned A Stroke of Fortune after he suffered serious injuries including brain trauma and a massive stroke following a road crash 10 years ago.

Mr and Mrs Aston are standing trial at the capital court accused of engaging in a course of conduct that caused three sets of neighbours fear and alarm at their home in Blackadder Crescent, North Berwick, between September 1, 2018 and October 11, 2021.

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Resident Marie Bain told the court living next door to the Astons was “a living hell” and was like living “in a war zone” due to their behaviour towards her and her family.

Mrs Bain, 66, said she found out her next door neighbours had made the 248 mobile phone video and audio recordings during a civil court process brought about by the Astons.

Marie Bain said living next to the Astons in Blackadder Crescent was a 'living hell'Marie Bain said living next to the Astons in Blackadder Crescent was a 'living hell'
Marie Bain said living next to the Astons in Blackadder Crescent was a 'living hell' | Marie Bain

The pensioner said the Astons took her and her husband Robert to court after making “vexatious” complaints to the local authority about her dogs barking excessively.

She said the recordings were made available to her as part of the evidence and told the court she was left “horrified” when she realised the extent of the surveillance.

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Mrs Bain told the court the Astons had made 67 video recordings of her family on just one day while she and her family were celebrating a family birthday in her back garden.

Giving evidence on Friday, she described how Mrs Aston, a qualified nurse, had allegedly breached bail conditions on three occasions by following and approaching her after a court had warned her not to.

The court also heard Mrs Bain had been arrested herself after her neighbours claimed she had called Mr Aston “a spastic creep” during one confrontation but the charges were eventually dropped.

The OAP had also initially denied calling Mrs Aston “a big lesbian” during another fiery encounter though phone footage shown to the court proved she had.

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Witnesses Catriona Henderson and Stuart McMorris outside Edinburgh Sheriff CourtWitnesses Catriona Henderson and Stuart McMorris outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Witnesses Catriona Henderson and Stuart McMorris outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court | Alex Lawrie

She told the trial she had “no recollection” of making the slur but after seeing the video she said she was “shocked” and “must have said it out of frustration”.

The court heard the civil case concerning the dogs was won by the Bains and the couple were advised by the police and council officials to keep a diary of all the harassment incidents they claim the Astons were waging against them.

Previously the trial heard from neighbour Catriona Henderson, 45, who said she and her partner had also been targeted by the Astons since they moved in to the estate.

Ms Henderson told the court she was left “scared and worried” after discovering Mr Aston had written a book featuring a character who develops superpowers and seeks revenge on nearby residents.

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The high school teacher also told the court Mrs Aston had made malicious reports to the General Teaching Council of Scotland and the NSPCC claiming she had been abusing her children.

She also said her neighbours had reported her and her partner to Crimestoppers claiming they were dealing drugs from their £500,000 four-bedroom family home. The summary trial in front of Sheriff John Cook continues later this month.

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