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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Woman jailed over land dispute
Samantha Richards and her mother
Samantha Richards on the way to court with her mother
A four-year legal dispute over a one-metre piece of land has led to a Shropshire woman being jailed.

After 20 court hearings over the dispute at her Tranquility Cottage home Samantha Richards was imprisoned for three months on Thursday.

Richards, 26, had refused to abide by a court order to take down a fence, which neighbour Tony Benson claimed encroached on his land by one metre.

The row broke out after Miss Richards put up a 100-metre long fence on the six-acre plot of land she paid 12,000 for in 1995.

Appeal failed

Mr Benson demanded it be removed but Richards refused, claiming her property was included in an ancient statute protecting enclosure land.

Both parties originally appeared before Telford County Court in May 1998, when the judge ruled in Mr Benson's favour.

Miss Richards appealed against the decision but the Appeal Court in London upheld the original verdict in 1999.

Mother guilty At the 19th hearing, Telford County Court, found Miss Richards guilty of contempt for not removing the fence.

Her mother, Teresa Richards, was also found guilty of aiding and abetting her.

Miss Richards was given until Thursday to remove the fence failed to do so.

Because of her refusal to abide by the court order, Judge Caroline Alton at the High Court, sitting in Birmingham, made the decision to jail Richards.


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