A 69-YEAR-OLD man who burned his house down after a row with Bexley Council has been given an Asbo.

During a two-day hearing at Bexley Magistrates’ Court, Ian Mitchell, from Crayford, was alleged to have driven his car at ward councillor Melvin Seymour and intimidated him on several occasions.

The court also heard how he had subjected neighbours on both sides of his Crayford Way home to years of harassment.

Mr Mitchell burned his house down in February 2008 after trying to get Bexley Council to act over a gang of youths and people parking in his driveway.

After the fire he went to live in his shed and neighbours say his behaviour worsened, the court heard.

Cllr Seymour told the court Mr Mitchell had angled his car towards him as he crossed the road in the Crayford Way shopping parade on September 10 last year.

He said: “He missed myself and a parked car by a matter of inches.”

A statement from neighbour Veronica Edwards read out in court said her daughter went to see Mr Mitchell (below) after the fire.

News Shopper: Ian Mitchell now lives in a shed in his garden

Mrs Edwards, who trembled and cried in the court as her statement was read out, said: “He started to strangle her. He said he hoped her father has a heart attack and dies.”

She added: “My husband and I just want to be able to enjoy our home and feel safe again.”

Another neighbour, Roy Russell, told the court Mr Mitchell would deliberately whistle loudly, make noises and stare through his windows.

Mr Mitchell, who defended himself, denied the allegations against him.

He said: “In my opinion the council is responsible for what happened.”

The council applied for the Asbo, which magistrates said will last until any further order is made, preventing Mr Mitchell from abusing, threatening, intimidating or harassing people in Bexley borough.

It also stops him using foul language, spitting and peering into his neighbours’ windows.