‘He’s just an evil man’: Grieving widow tormented by her nightmare neighbour in row over her dead husband’s shrine says she would lie awake ‘night after night’ in fear of what he would do – and was too scared to put up a holly wreath on front door
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A grieving widow who was tormented by her nightmare neighbour in a bitter row over a shrine to her late husband has said she would lie awake ‘night after night’ in fear of what he might do.
Church volunteer Margaret Ilkovics, 60, was subjected to callous smears and vandalism, which included having a raw octopus shoved through her letter box and splattered cocoa powder on her door, by former social worker Anthony Kenyon.
The 52-year-old man said that Mrs Ilkovics’ memorial to her husband Richard, which included ornaments, a memory box and shrubs placed under a pussy willow tree in a communal garden, was a ‘health and safety breach’.
Kenyon was said to have uprooted the three foot high tree, killed off the grass and plants with weed-killer and even damaged ornaments, such as commemorative dolls, at Regina Court in Salford, Greater Manchester.
He was also accused of writing poison pen notes claiming Mrs Ilkovics’ husband who died of cancer aged just 54, was ‘bogus’ and she had only married him for his money.
Kenyon was handed a 13 month in prison sentence for the breach, suspended for 18 months after it emerged he had been evicted from the property.
Speaking after the case Mrs Ilkovics described the effect the ordeal had on her over the years, admitting she was even scared to put up a holly wreath on her front door.
She said: ‘He’s just an evil man and I don’t know what I would have done if he had been allowed to stay next door.
‘I would be lying awake night after night. Worrying about going outside and finding the mess he made.
‘I was even worried this year about putting a Christmas tree outside or putting up holly wreath on the door. But at least he can’t come anywhere near there now. I was dancing when I found he had to move away. I have been messaging everyone saying: ‘He is gone now – gone at last’.’
Margaret Ilkovics, 60, (pictured on her wedding day with late husband Richard in June 2018), placed shrubs, various ornaments and a memory box under a pussy willow tree as a daily reminder of her late spouse who died of cancer aged just 54. The shrine was located in a communal garden
Anthony Kenyon (pictured outside court at an earlier hearing in 2020) shoved raw octopus through his neighbour’s letter box and pelted eggs at her home during a bitter row over a shrine to her late husband
The widow filled her garden in Salford with plants as a shrine (pictured under the shrub) to her late husband Richard, who died of cancer aged 54
What was left of the garden at Regina Court in Salford following the neighbourhood dispute
The victim also said Kenyon would also ‘rant and rave’ at her from behind a window at his flat and unnecessarily summon ambulances to her home wrongly claiming she had a severe mental illness and needed ‘taking away.’
The row first broke out in 2018 when the shrine first appeared in the garden following the death of Mr Ilkovics. Kenyon immediately objected to the shrine, beginning his campaign of harassment. He was first convicted of harassment in September 2018 and then again in February 2019. In 2020, he was given a two year restraining order but he disregarded it and continued with his ‘mental torture’ of Mrs Ilkovics.
READ HERE: Neighbour, 49, who trashed widow’s shrine to late husband in their shared garden is given two-year restraining order and told not to speak to her and stay ‘in hallway if he hears her outside’
In 2020 retired clerk Mrs Ilkovics won a two year restraining order against Kenyon but he continued his campaign of harassment.
He put raw octopus through her letter box, smeared cocoa powder on her door, and threw eggs at her property. He was arrested after she installed a security camera to capture him targeting her property.
In a statement the victim described Kenyon’s behaviour as ‘mental torture’ and said he was preventing her from properly grieving her husband who passed away in 2018.
She also said she had ‘seriously’ considered suicide and added: ‘Please help make this stop. I do not deserve this. I just want to be left alone to heal and enjoy the years that I have left.’
At Manchester Crown Court Kenyon faced up to four years jail under sentencing guidelines after he admitted breaching a restraining order but was sentenced to 13 months in prison, suspended for 18 months after it emerged he has since been evicted.
He was also issued with a new four year restraining order preventing him from contacting Mrs Ilkovics and was ordered to complete 25 rehabilitation activity days.
The victim had married her husband in June 2018 as he lay terminally ill in hospital and he died the following month.
In 2020, Mrs Ilkovics, a retired clerk won a two year restraining order against Kenyon but he continued his campaign of harassment
The victim had married her husband Richard in June 2018 as he lay terminally ill in hospital and he died the following month
But she fell out with Kenyon when she set up the shrine outside their respective homes in the apartment complex which houses the elderly or those with disabilities.
In one incident Kenyon dumped some of the ornaments in a shoebox on Mrs Ilkovic’s wheelie bin whilst she was away on holiday.
There was a horrific note attached which read: ‘Please find enclosed the funeral ornaments you placed without permission.
‘Said items I’m reliably informed are supposed to be placed indoors either side of an urn for example.
‘Whilst one appreciates certain individuals placing such items and all manner of other rubbish on graves, It is not acceptable in a domestic garden.
‘You have caused not only an affront to my religious beliefs but blocked access to the fire escape and wasted police time.’
The home of Mrs Ilkovics (red door) and Kenyon (right) in Regina Court, Salford. The shrine previously lay between the two properties
Mrs Ilkovics met her husband Richard (couple pictured on their wedding day) when she moved next door. He died in 2018 from cancer
One note he put in his window referred to Mrs Ilkovic’s home saying: ‘Goods available strictly COD (cash on delivery) convicted shoplifter.’
In January 2022 Mrs Ilkovics bought a Ring doorbell for £340 to catch Kenyon and footage over an eight-day period showed him throwing sticks, burnt carrots and rubbish outside her front door and throwing a light-bulb and aerosol cans at her wall.
READ ALSO: Neighbour ‘trashed’ widow’s shrine to late husband in their shared garden by digging up 3ft tree, pouring weed killer on grass and smashing her ornaments
He also spilled a thick liquid solution from a container outside the front door.
Miss Jane Dagnall, prosecuting, said: ‘It captured a sustained campaign of harassment. Mrs Ilkovics has said she has felt targeted by Mr Kenyon. She has felt harassed, alarmed and distressed.
‘She described the effect of his behaviour as mental torture and preventing her from properly grieving her husband who passed away in 2018. She has seriously considered suicide.’
In mitigation defence counsel Michael Lavery said: ‘While no doubt Mrs Ilkovichs felt severe distress one has to approach the case with a certain realistic attitude and look at what he actually did.
‘He spilt liquid down the drain, on another occasion a light bulb was thrown at the wall, and sticks thrown on the path in a communal area.
‘I am not down playing what happened mentally, but what one has to consider whether this is harm of a serious nature, or if very serious distress was caused to the victim. Of course she feels it, she is the victim of it, but the court will be aware of more serious cases.’
‘Since his arrest there has been no repetition and he has moved away from the area.’
Sentencing Kenyon Judge Kate Cornell told him: ‘Low level these incidents may be, but they were repeated and targeted against her and calculated to continuously annoy and upset her, and they did.
Mrs Ilkovics pictured tending to her garden before the dispute began back in 2018
Kenyon was handed a 13 month in prison sentence for breaching his restraining order, suspended for 18 months after it emerged he had been evicted from the property
‘Mrs Ilkovics has reported feeling anxious, depressed, even to the point of feeling suicidal. She has not felt able to grieve for her husband, and not felt able to go out and live her life freely.
‘To other people it seems that you are at a low risk of reoffending, apart from Mrs Ilkovic. but this was a clear and persistent breach of a restraining order.
‘I cannot discount the severity of the impact she felt but I do accept these were essentially nuisance and low level offence – although very nasty in their impact. If you went to custody, you would have very little rehabilitation which would not assist anyone to my mind.
‘But you need to help to make sure that you do not resort to this type of petty and vindictive behaviour again.’
‘I still have not gotten over it [Rick’s passing]. I was with Rick for 19 years. We got married seven weeks before he died. We talked about it but we just never got around to it. We were like a married couple.
‘He was a wonderful man, kind, loving, generous, sweet, caring, everything you could wish for. 19 years with Rick, best time in my life.’
The pair met when she moved in next door to him in Crumpsall: ‘I went from having a wonderful neighbour who ended up becoming my husband, to an evil one, he is evil.’
For help and support contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or go to samaritans.org
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