A RECOVERING alcoholic has had the length of a restraining order against her more than doubled by magistrates after repeatedly harassing her next-door neighbours.

Sarah Jane Orchard, 45, was ordered to stay away from her neighbours who reported to police that she would shout and swear through the walls dividing their terraced houses on Lowe Street, Darlington.

Magistrates originally imposed a restraining order on Orchard in August 2018, however the 45-year-old was charged and pleaded guilty to a further two counts of harassment following two incidents in October 2018.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard this week that Orchard had made her neighbours fear for their own safety.

A victim impact statement read out on behalf of Orchard’s neighbours stated: “These incidents have caused me a great deal of stress and I have concerns for my 18-month-old daughter.

“My daughter is my main concern and her welfare is important to me. I feel as though I’m in a vulnerable situation owing to the actions of Miss Orchard.

“I feel threatened for my own safety – I just want to live in my home address without fear.”

Orchard was visibly upset in court and interrupted proceedings several times to say: “This is all wrong.”

The court heard the 45-year-old woman had repeatedly shouted “**** off” and “shut up” through the walls between 11pm and 2.30am on October 17 and October 18 with her neighbours believing it was directed at their child who was ill and upset at the time.

Police officers investigating the harassment claims also heard Orchard threatening her neighbours, shouting, “come on then you fat ****, I’ll kill you”.

A probation officer told the court Orchard had complied with a six-month alcohol treatment order attached to her sentence given in August last year.

She added: “Miss Orchard broke her restraining order two months after it was given. She’s lived at that house for six years and all of a sudden last year she appears before the court for harassment.

“She does have a previously conviction in 2013 for drink driving and alcohol has always been a bit of an issue in her life. However, when this lady is sober she is very understanding and astute, but when she’s drunk, her life is very chaotic.”

Orchard's original restraining order in place between August 2018 and August 2019 was extended by 18 months.

She was given a six-month community order and must pay £85 victim surcharge.