Sean Wisedale: ‘I’m not the easiest of guys, but things escalated’

2013-09-01 06:00

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The din from a neighbour’s party the night after he returned from scaling Russia’s Mount Elbrus was the last straw for Sean Wisedale – and the resulting “snap” has landed him in court.

Wisedale, the first South African to have climbed the highest mountains of each of the seven continents, is now preparing to move out of his quiet Glenwood home after the dispute with his neighbours turned his sanctuary into “hell”.

He’s written to his neighbours informing them of the move and apologising for running amok after he “lost it”.

On Sunday, Wisedale (47) allegedly went into a rage about the noise caused by the tenants in neighbour Sean Simons’ cottages and drove his 4x4 repeatedly into the gate of a privately owned access road running next to their property which the Simons’ use to access the cottages.

He also allegedly urinated on the wrecked gate.

Wisedale, a motivational speaker and film maker, was then chased and beaten – allegedly by angry neighbours and security company staff – before being arrested.

He appeared in the Durban Magistrates’ Court on Monday on charges of drunk driving, disturbing the peace and malicious damage to property and will appear in court again in February.

The weekend clash with Simons and his wife, Janet, came after several years of legal skirmishes between them and Wisedale over their half of the cost of a fence between their properties built by him, and their running of an unlicensed self-catering lodge out of cottages they had built on their property immediately adjacent to his house.

Wisedale has complained to the city and the eThekwini Municipality’s land use management section issued contravention orders compelling them to close the business down as they did not have a licence and their land was zoned for special residential use only.

However, they appealed and went to court, with the matter being set down finally for argument at the end of September. Wisedale also took the couple to the Small Claims Court over their half of the cost of building the fence and won.

“What I did was not acceptable,” a battered and somewhat contrite Wisedale told City Press this week. “This is not how people are meant to behave. I know that what I did was not on, but I was driven to total frustration by what has been going on for years.”

Wisedale, who has a 16-month old daughter, said he had returned from his latest expedition to Russia on Friday and was relaxing at home on Saturday night when the tenants next door had started having a party.

“I climb mountains for a living. When I get home I want to recover and relax in the peace of my home. There is ongoing and invasive noise coming from the cottages, which are right next to my bedroom.

“When Katherine (his wife) tried to reason with the tenants to keep it down they were insulting and kept on at it. I know that I’m not the easiest of guys, but things escalated from there,” he said.

In the letter to neighbours, Wisedale said he had “always had good relations with past neighbours. I have good friends and family and much support from those who know me”.

“The relationship between the Simons and me fell apart in 2004 when they reneged on payment of the fence I had erected between our properties in order to enhance their security.

“We ended up in court. Various problems arose during and after that. There may be disputes on some of the facts but once the stories are told you will all get to know what kind of unfortunate neighbours I have had to put up with in the Simons,” he said in the letter.

The street was quiet when City Press visited this week. The gate to the access road had not been replaced. Neighbours refused to comment on record, but said that there had been several other outbursts involving Wisedale.

Simons and his wife refused to comment because of the criminal case and the high court action. But Sean Simons said that the legal action was “malicious” and that his family were being “targeted” by Wisedale.

“We have had discussion with our attorneys and at this point we can’t talk to the media. It becomes a tit-for-tat and a very muddy piece of water,” he said.

Janet Simons said the situation was “volatile and dangerous for us” and that she did not want to slug it out with Wisedale in the media.

“We don’t want any more threats to our family and the people here,” she said.

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