Judge hits out at millionaire Hampshire pharmacist who tried to stop his nobleman neighbour from holding shooting parties

Tyrwhitt-Drake, of East Meon, at Portsmouth Magistrates Court during the case 'Picture: 180722-5626
Tyrwhitt-Drake, of East Meon, at Portsmouth Magistrates Court during the case 'Picture: 180722-5626

A MILLIONAIRE pharmacist has been carpeted by a judge after he tried to force a nobleman to make his shooting parties 'less noisy' following a decade-long neighbour's feud.

Dr Charles Gillies O'Bryan-Tear dragged his 'bitter' and 'spiteful' dispute with aristocrat William Tyrwhitt-Drake to court after the pair were unable to reach a compromise on the century-old game shooting events.

The Cambridge University-educated 63-year-old's prolonged row with the Tyrwhitt-Drake family saw him make a series of complaints over a 'lengthy period'.

These included threatening to call the police and other authorities, trying to get his neighbour removed from the Countryside Alliance and calling for his wife to step down from the local parish council.

District Judge Anthony Callaway criticised Dr O'Bryan-Tear, telling him his 'lack of judgement' led to him acting 'unreasonably' and causing him to 'lose perspective'.

The pharmacist and Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake have been locked in the legal battle for two years, after Dr O'Bryan-Tear took up a private prosecution to have a noise abatement order issued.

Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake, whose ancestor was godson of English sea captain Sir Francis Drake, hosts a variety of shooting events at the 2,500-acre Bereleigh Estate in East Meon.

Dr O'Bryan-Tear, who has over 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry and now acts as an expert adviser to huge firms across the world specialising in the field, had filed for a noise abatement order. The complaints related to noise between July 2016 and January 2017.

The pharmacist objected to 'persistent' gunshots, which disturbed the 'tranquil South Downs', with the stress caused by the noise compared to someone coming up behind you and shouting ‘boo’.

The court heard Dr O'Bryan-Tear even went as far as 'demanding' Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake resign from the Countryside Alliance and his wife Philippa do the same from her role on the local parish council.

Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake told the court there had been no complaint about shooting at the estate since he moved there in 1958, adding it provided a lot of work to local residents.

Dismissing the noise abatement orders, Judge Callaway said: ‘Although this case is concerned with game shooting, it is apparent that its ambit has stretched over many other aspects and been the subject of bitter dispute.

‘Regrettably, from a minor disagreement the argument has become bitter, protracted and in many ways spiteful. As a consequence, a full scale neighbour dispute developed.

‘I find that the action has fallen well short of the requisite standard. I recognise my decision will be a bitter blow to the complainant, who believe in the existence of the nuisance alleged.’

After the trial, Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake said: ‘We are very pleased that the Judge, having listened to a great deal of evidence very carefully, recognised that the allegations simply couldn’t be sustained and therefore ruled in our favour.

‘We as a family are very glad that the matter is now at a close. It was vital for us, in fact a matter of principle, to robustly defend our livelihood and also the interests and reputation of the wider shooting community and industry.’

Chief executive of the Countryside Alliance Tim Bonner added: ‘Many people would have folded faced with this sort of prosecution setting an extremely dangerous precedent. Everyone who shoots is in their debt.’