Meet the abusive ‘neighbour from hell’ finally jailed after terrorising housing complex

“She regularly goes on benders and goes about the flats banging on people doors demanding they give her fags or drink”

Leanne McFall is now behind bars

Leanne McFall

Steven Moore

Residents in Ballymena were left aghast when cops lifted a nuisance neighbour who was supposed to be in jail – but left her back 30 minutes later!

Fed-up residents of High Street, Ballymena, called the cops last Thursday after problem neighbour Leanne McFall went “off on one” yet again using sectarian and racist language to abuse them.

Remarkably the 45-year-old, who uses a wheelchair to get around, was jailed two days earlier after she failed to turn up to her own appeal against an eight-month prison sentence she was handed last month for assaulting a nurse and racially abusing a doctor.

The judge ordered the no-show thug to hand herself into custody to begin her eight months behind bars.

When she kicked off last Thursday night residents decided to call the police to complain about her behaviour.

When the cops arrived the first time, they left without arresting her — so when she kicked off yet again they returned and this time residents had to tell them she was supposed to be in prison.

On checking, officers confirmed there was an outstanding bench warrant for her and took her away.

“We thought, finally, we were going to get some peace for a few months, so we completely flabbergasted when the cops pulled up 30 minutes later to drop her home,” said one distraught resident.

“She came back in shouting, ‘I’m back, Big Momma’s home’. We were all horrified. She got back to her usual self, going round people’s doors banging on them, looking for drink.”

Leanne McFall

On Wednesday a police spokesperson told the Sunday World: “A woman, arrested in relation to an outstanding bench warrant, was deemed at that time to be unsuitable to be admitted to the police custody suite and was brought home by officers. Enquiries into the matter are ongoing.

“Meanwhile, local police continue to work with residents and a range of partners to resolve the ongoing anti-social behaviour issues in this area.”

Two days later Leanne McFall was taken to Hydebank Wood Women’s Prison in south Belfast after a specialist van capable of taking a wheelchair arrived at the apartments.

The apartment block — which is handily just 100ft from the courthouse where Leanne McFall is described as a “frequent flyer” — has been beset with anti-social behaviour issues.

It’s also the same apartment block where notorious ex-heroin kingpin Noel Johnston jumped to his death from a third-floor apartment 18 months ago.

Leanne McFall has been described as the genuine “neighbour from hell” by beleaguered residents of the Choice Housing complex, which was only built three years ago and was designed to help vulnerable people get back on their feet.

Last week she was due to appeal an eight-month sentence for a shocking incident but she failed to turn up for that and a judge ordered her to hand herself in.

According to one resident, McFall was “off her head” all of last week and things got worse last Thursday.

“Some of the residents have genuine mental health issues and are trying to make a better life here,” they said.

“We have this communal garden and we were all outside planting flowers when Leanne turned up completely plastered and shouting abuse at everyone.

“She was calling people ‘Fenian b***ards’ and accusing people of being touts. She regularly goes on benders and she goes about the flats banging on people doors demanding they give her fags or drink.

“She even urinates outside people’s flats for badness and she did it last week all over her wheelchair when the cops arrived.

“It’s not fair that people are forced to live like this. The cops finally came back today [Thursday] and took her away. She is facing eviction from the block so we hope she won’t be back.”

When McFall failed to attend Antrim County Appeal Court on Tuesday May 9, Judge Alistair Devlin dismissed the appeal and affirmed the sentences.

“She is requested to surrender herself to custody or be liable for arrest,” declared the judge.

McFall was jailed last month for eight months after she admitted two counts of assaulting a nurse on consecutive days on November 25 and 26, 2021.

A prosecuting lawyer described how McFall had been a patient at Antrim Area Hospital “for a couple of weeks” when she began verbally abusing staff on November 25.

“She said that if she got her hands on any of them she would knock them out,” said the lawyer.

The first assault happened when a nurse was administering an insulin injection to another patient.

McFall, who was “shouting and screaming” about going for a cigarette, threw a pillow at her, hitting the nurse’s hand.

The following day, when a consultant was doing ward rounds, McFall was “verbally abusive to him and used racially abusive language”, calling the consultant a “useless, fat b******”.

At around 3.30pm, McFall asked the nurse to empty her catheter bag at her bedside.

The court heard that in order to do so the nurse had to get down on her knees.

“That exposed her head,” said the lawyer, outlining how McFall “grabbed her chart and struck her in the top of the head with the metal part of it”.

That action also caused the urine in the catheter bag to “spill over the victim’s arms and knees”, leaving her in pain and in shock and tearful.

Arrested and interviewed, McFall denied being abusive but accepted she “probably” committed the “catheter incident”.

Having checked that Hydebank Women’s Prison could cope with a wheelchair user, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes told McFall that her behaviour was “utterly and completely unacceptable”.

Having heard that she has previous convictions for dishonesty, the judge said McFall was “a thief and not a very nice person to start with”.

Imposing jail sentences totalling eight months, he told McFall: “I’m afraid you have reached the end of your rope.”

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