Strangers donate thousands of pounds to kennel owner caught in £96,000 legal case
PUBLISHED: 14:27 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:27 29 August 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Strangers have donated hundreds of pounds to a kennels owner to help with a legal appeal after she lost a £96,000 court case.
Sharon Tidnam has lodged an appeal after losing a court battle with her neighbour over noise at her kennels at Low Farm, Topcroft.
Barrister Matthew McNiff made hundreds of recordings from his home half-a-mile away of dogs "howling and barking" in a bid to prove Mrs Tidnam had breached a noise nuisance order imposed by Norwich Magistrates Court.
At her sentencing last month, she was ordered to pay £3,000 compensation to Mr McNiff as well as his legal costs of £93,000 within three months.
More than 100 people met in support of Mrs Tidnam at a public meeting in Topcroft on August 7.
A Go Fund Me page was created in a bid to raise money for her court bill, which has so far accrued more than £2,000 with some supporters donating between £100 and £500 at a time.
Supporter and friend Nicola Eastall said: "She has had complete strangers handing her £5 to help with her appeal and wishing her well.
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"Mrs Tidnam has had a great many letters of support and offers of donations to help with her plight which she has found extremely heartening in what has been a devastating time for her and her family."
She added: "People have been donating small amounts but they are people she doesn't even know."
Mrs Tidnam, 62, said the support has been overwhelming, adding: "People from a long way away have heard my story and I've had people email and call, it's been amazing really.
"Everybody I have spoken to have said the same thing - they can't believe what has happened. People want to help, they want to donate.
"People are asking how I have kept going, but because of all the support I've had I don't see how I can give up."
Mr McNiff was previously good friends with Mrs Tidnam but brought a private prosecution against her in 2018 over the noise.
She was then found guilty at a hearing in June of breaching a nuisance order and told to pay Mr McNiff's £93,000 legal costs.
Her solicitor accused Mr McNiff of taking a "Rolls Royce" approach by employing expensive solicitors.