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'Noise terrorist' gets 16 months jail

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'Noise terrorist' gets 16 months jail
The court heard that the man would often turn his music system on full-volume at 4.30am then leave the building. Photo of man with hands over ears: Shutterstock
14:34 CEST+02:00
A Spanish man who deliberately tormented neighbours with loud music for five years, leaving one of them with a mental health disorder, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to pay €15,000 ($19,000) in compensation.

The man's five-year reign of noise terror was conducted "with the obvious intention of disturbing the peace of his neighbours", according to court documents.

Shortly after moving into his apartment in the northern Spanish city of San Sebastian he began to play music at "high volume" at 4.30 AM. He would then leave it on when he left the building.

He started to "carry out acts deliberately meant to annoy" other people who had to put up with "constant banging and crashing of furniture at any time of the day or night".

After living on the same floor as the man for two years, one neighbour started having anxiety attacks and required medical treatment after developing "adjustment disorder", a mental health condition caused by an inability to cope with a particular stressor.

The man was fined by local police on "numerous occasions" according to Spanish daily 20 Minutos, after they took decibel readings.

On one of these occasions, the man asked the officers "Who's called you, the whore or her bastard husband?"

During the trial the man admitted guilt. He was fined €90 and sentenced to a total of 16 months for noise pollution, disturbing the peace and causing injury. The court noted that there were no mitigating circumstances such as drug abuse.

He was also banned from contacting or going near his former neighbours for five years and ordered to pay compensation of €10,000 and €5,000 to those most affected.

Spain has seen a number of noise-related cases in recent months. In July, the southern city of Seville cracked down on decibel levels by banning outdoor domino and dice games.

Rolling beer barrels in the street or eating and drinking while standing up next to café terraces has also been banned.

Malaga followed suit by fining youths who were playing the board game Ludo in a park.

And in Rubí, near Barcelona, police interrupted the activities of a man who was watching a porn movie at top volume with his window open when the passionate cries of the starring actress alarmed neighbours.    

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