In the Media

Transexual has gardening community service slashed because she can't push the lawnmower

PUBLISHED May 23, 2012

Jan Krause, 48, became embroiled in a bitter dispute in her pretty Cheshire village after complaining about what she said was an annoyingly loud whistle from her neighbour's boiler flue.

Lord Justice Moses said it had led to a "campaign of harassment" aimed at driving her neighbour, nurse Carol Story, out of her home in Walnut Lane, Hartford, near Northwich.

Her campaign led to convictions last September on four counts of breaching a restraining order by pestering her neighbour and a sentence including 250 hours' community service mowing a graveyard lawn.

She tried to overturn her convictions at the Court of Appeal, but only succeeded in having her graveyard labour cut to 157 hours by merciful judges in London.

Lord Justice Moses said he would cut the order to 150 hours to end her punishment immediately, but upped it on her request so she can say "goodbye" to her community service pals.

"I'm pushing a lawnmower around a graveyard every Sunday," said Krause, complaining that the motor had been disconnected from the heavy mower, making it difficult to move. "No one can push that lawnmower. I do my best, but I feel it is undeserved punishment."

The judge said Krause would be better off if she put her court troubles behind her and got on with her life.

"We just think all these quarrels, litigation, police and courts make life so much worse for you and your family," said the judge, sitting with Mr Justice Underhill and Judge Melbourne Inman QC.

At the centre of the trouble, which began in 2005, was a complaint by Krause, who was born male and lives with her brother and elderly mother, about her neighbour's allegedly noisy boiler.

Breaches of the restraining order included staring at her neighbours with a notebook and pen in her hand, shining a torch in their house guests' faces and approaching a gas fitter visiting the Story home.

"Under the guise of gathering evidence, she had embarked on a campaign of harrassment devised to drive her neighbour out of her home," said Lord Justice Moses.

He added: "Although they sound trivial here within the courtroom, they merely demonstrate a manifestation of a long-running, dispiriting saga of what has been found to be harrassment by this appellant against her neighbour."

Representing herself at the Court of Appeal, unemployed Krause tried to overturn the convictions, claiming she was a victim of mistaken identity and trying to shift some of the blame onto her neighbours, who have since moved.

The judges rejected her conviction appeal.

Krause is also subject to a 10-year restraining order.