Couple express regret over bitter feud with neighbour

THE couple whose six-minute row with neighbours in an upmarket Merchiston street ended in court have spoken of their regret over the incident.

Dr John McCallum, 50, and wife Michele, 44, were fined a total of 5000 after a row outside their home with neighbour Rosaline Kinder escalated.

The couple, who lived in Napier Road, close to authors JK Rowling and Ian Rankin, last week had their fines reduced to 1150 after a judge ruled them excessive. However, they failed in their appeal against their conviction for putting Mrs Kinder in a state of fear and alarm and breach of the peace.

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The row, which began as Mrs Kinder arrived home in her car with her five-year-old son in September 2008, swiftly escalated. Mrs Kinder said that Dr McCallum, a GP, had stood in the entrance to the drive, preventing her from reversing on to her property and she thought he would pull open the car door and hit her.

The McCallums claimed Mrs Kinder had almost knocked down their children.

Following last week's ruling, Dr McCallum said he would not contest the conviction further.

He said: "This has been going on for two-and-a-half years now. The publicity and the extended nature of this has been incredible.

"To continue at this stage would be too consuming.

"Michele and I want to say that it is very regrettable that we got involved in a completely unseemly situation.

"We would apologise for this thoroughly wasteful use of the valuable public resources taken up by the process that followed, and by that I mean the police time and court time.

"We clearly should not have conducted ourselves in the manner that we did. This was completely uncharacteristic."

Recalling the incident, he added: "It was all over in six minutes. I stood in the driveway to talk to her and she started tooting her horn. Michele came out.

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"What started as an argument between neighbours turned into your worst nightmare."

Although rejecting the McCallums' appeal, three appeal court judges said the sheriff had been wrong when he described the incident as "the worst breach of the peace" in his career, and wrote that he took an "overly severe" attitude.

The McCallums have now moved from their 1.5 million villa in Napier Road to another home in the Capital.

Mrs McCallum said her children, aged between six and 17, had found the court case difficult. She said: "It has not been easy. I think the most damaging thing was the way they were treated. I told them to tell the truth (in court] and everything would be all right."They told the truth and they weren't believed."

Dr McCallum now awaits a decision by the General Medical Council as to whether he will be disciplined.

The McCallums are also reported to be seeking legal advice after the Kinders submitted a planning application for a wooden gate, which is said to have referred to the McCallums' "campaign of harassment . . . this included incidents of stalking and kerb crawling".

The Kinders declined to comment.

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