A London couple who paved over 3ft of their neighbours' back garden in a "land grab" have been ordered to hand it back after losing a court battle.
The tiny strip of land wedged between two back gardens in Camberwell, south London became the staging post for a bitter neighbour feud.
Wendy Mszyca, 58, and her partner Amanda Uziell-Hamilton, 66, were accused of taking the land, which rightly belonged to neighbours Jay and Hannah Stirrett.
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Mszyca and Uziell-Hamilton, an artist and lawyer trainer, decided to re-do the garden of their £1million home and were accused of removing a fence back in 2018 and paved another 3ft towards the Stirretts' house, a £1.4m Victorian home.
The Stirretts sued at Central London County Court and a judge has now found in their favour, ordering Ms Mszyca and Ms Uziell-Hamilton to hand back the "wholly unusable, inaccessible strip of land" which lies behind the back wall of their garden.
Judge David Saunders said "considerable ill-feeling" had been caused by the neighbours' row, which could now see Ms Mszyca and Ms Uziell-Hamilton having to pick up a massive lawyers' bill for the case.
When the Stirretts moved in, there was a rendered wall at the back of their garden. They insisted that it was not on the correct boundary line, but had in fact been built about three feet inside their garden area.
The true boundary, they said, was a wooden fence three feet behind the wall, marking the end of the other couple's garden until they had controversially removed it and paved up to the Stirretts' wall in 2018.
The Stirretts' barrister Tom Morris said that the wall constructed by builders on the Stirretts' property before they bought it is entirely within their garden and only put there to avoid an argument between the developer and Ms Mszyca and Ms Uziell-Hamilton.
Despite the wall being there, the true boundary was the fence in Ms Mszyca and Ms Uziell-Hamilton's garden, which had been removed by their neighbours when they laid the paving.
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Author Jeremy Fox corroborated Morris' claims. The Stirretts' neighbour said he had watched from his top floor writing room as the builder erected the wall and, when he went to tell him he was in the wrong place, was told it was because he wanted to avoid trouble with Ms Mszyca and Ms Uziell-Hamilton.
"He told me he had some kind of disagreement with the occupiers of the rear property and he couldn't be bothered with it, so he put it where he did," he told the judge.
Finding in the Stirretts' favour, the judge said that they were right that the true boundary between the two gardens runs along the line of the fence.
The judge said a further hearing would be held to decide on who pays the costs of the trial.
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