When the quiet of this sought-after capital street was suddenly broken

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A DOCTOR and his wife are to stand trial next month in the wake of a bitter neighbourhood dispute in one of the most affluent parts of Edinburgh.

John and Michele McCallum are accused of obstructing, intimidating and shouting at Ros Kinder as she tried to park at her home in Merchiston's Napier Road.

Nearby neighbours include best-selling writers Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith, as well as former Scotland rugby star David Johnston.

One charge states that Mrs McCallum banged on the roof of Mrs Kinder's car and tried to open the driver's door when she was at the wheel.

Mrs Kinder's husband, film-maker Guy Kinder, is understood to be seriously ill with cancer.

The incident, said to have happened after more than a year of disputes between the two families, is thought to have caused a huge split between neighbours in the street, one of the most sought-after in the capital.

Neighbours say book and wine clubs in the area have had to be shelved due to the incident last September.

Properties in the street, close to Napier University's Merchiston campus, are thought to be worth well over 1.5 million.

John McCallum, a GP based at East Preston Street, in Newington, is thought to have lived with his wife and their four children at the house for about nine years. The Kinders, who have two children, are believed to have moved in about five years ago.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "It's a very difficult situation for everyone in the street who knows one or both of these families. There's been a very tense atmosphere and no-one really seems to know the full story."

Another local resident said: "It's a very close-knit community here and most people get along well. But everything has changed over the last year. There was a book club, which has had to be wound up, and a wine club, which seems to be on its last legs as well. It's a real shame."

Both properties were previously part of the campus for the private St Denis and Cranley school for girls. It sold the site to housebuilder Stewart Milne for almost 4 million in 1998 after merg- ing with St Margaret's School for girls in Newington.

The Kinders' house was gutted by fire when it was being refurbished shortly before the family was due to move in. The damage was thought to be worth 750,000.

The breach of the peace charges being faced by the McCallums, who live at 7 Napier Road, relate to an alleged incident in the street on 25 September last year.

John McCallum, 48, is accused of conducting himself in a disorderly manner and wilfully obstructing and intimidating Mrs Kinder, including deliberately standing behind her vehicle as she was trying to reverse.

Michele McCallum, also 48, is also accused of conducting herself in a disorderly manner and shouting at and intimidating Mrs Kinder, banging on the rear of her vehicle and trying to open its door.

The McCallums face another charge of putting two children, aged 13 and 11, at risk by allowing them to climb high scaffolding at the rear of their home while the couple were under the influence of alcohol.

The couple have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are due to stand trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 8 June.

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