Music producer who made neighbours' lives a misery avoids jail

Earth, Wind and Fire music producer, 70, who made his BAFTA-nominated TV comedy director neighbour’s life a misery by blasting loud music through the walls and pouring water through the ceiling avoids jail

  • Mark Arthurworrey, 70, got a suspended sentence after harassing a family 

A music producer who made his neighbours’ lives a misery by blasting loud music through the walls and hurling rubbish into the garden in a six year harassment campaign has avoided jail.

Mark Arthurworrey, 70, who has worked with artists including Earth Wind and Fire and Annie Lennox, has escaped with a suspended sentence after disturbing a couple and their two young children.

Victim Misha Manson-Smith, 49, a director, and his journalist wife Alexandra had bought the ground floor flat in Dalston, east London, which was part of a house formerly owned by Arthurworrey’s mother.

He converted the house and continued to live in a flat there – but disputed the Manson-Smiths’ rights to use the front garden.

Arthurworrey was given a restraining order in 2017 but ignored it and when the Manson-Smiths moved out in 2019, he harrassed their tenants.

The Manson-Smiths had claimed Arthurworrey allowed water to pour through the ceiling into smoke alarms and lighting which left the flat without power for five days.

After returning from a holiday in 2018, the family found pigeon droppings on the outside patio and a dead rat riddled with maggots in the bin.

Mr Manson-Smith and his wife were awarded £273,000 at the High Court in 2021 after a judge ruled Arthurworrey carried out a ‘serious course of harassment’ against them.

Mark Arthurworrey, 70, who has worked with artists including Earth Wind and Fire and Annie Lennox, has escaped with a suspended sentence

Victim Misha Manson-Smith, 49, told the first trial how his family had to suffer constant noise from the flat upstairs

Rebecca Foulkes, prosecuting, earlier said: ‘Mr Arthurworrey was made the subject of a restraining order. That order contained a number of relevant terms.

‘Mr Arthurworrey was prohibited from any contact which may make any residents or visitors to the flat feel harassed.’

Arthurworrey had dismissed Mr Manson-Smith’s complaints saying they were not his fault.

He claimed he was unaware of the actions of builders and did not know a dead rat had been put into the recycling.

Arthurworrey, who now lives in Worthing, admitted one count of breaching a restraining order between May 2018 and July 2020.

He first stood trial at Wood Green Crown Court in March last year but the case was aborted due to Covid-19.

Giving evidence Misha Manson-Smith had told the first trial how his family had to suffer constant noise from the flat upstairs.

He said he had arrived home with his wife and two sons on the evening of May 28, 2018 when they heard sounds coming from above.

‘We were trying to ignore it but it became more persistent and my son started becoming upset because he was in our bedroom reading.

‘It was the sound of sawing, or something bouncing over the floor boards. I thought, we need to get evidence so I started filming on my phone.’

He said the incident lasted for around 10-20 minutes.

‘It was one of those things where you want to give the benefit of the doubt but then it became more persistent.

‘It sounded not like somebody going about their business but like someone who wanted to cause upset. It sounded more and more deliberate.’

Mr Manson-Smith described another incident on July 2, 2018.

Misha Manson-Smith’s journalist wife Alexandra – the couple came back from a holiday to find pigeon droppings covering the patio outside their door

‘As the kids were coming in and out there was a very sharp, loud banging from the window of flat B that is directly above us.

‘It went on for a few minutes and then it became stressful. When it became apparent that it was directed at us we started recording it on an iPhone.’

That footage was also played which showed Manson-Smith’s father asking: ‘Is that just him hammering?’ before opening a book to read with his grandson.

Arthurworrey admitted one charge of breaching a restraining order on the first day of his retrial.

According to the charge, between 28 May 2018 and 7 July 2020, ‘without reasonable excuse, he allowed, caused or permitted workmen who he had engaged to refurbish flat B, 108 Forest Road, E8 3BH, to carry out work which made noise which interfered or may have interfered with the rights of Flat A’.

He denied 18 further charges of acting in breach of a restraining order and the prosecution offered no evidence on those counts.

Mr Manson-Smith, is a British director, writer and producer in film, television and commercials.

According to his online CV he has worked with Ali G star Sacha Baron Cohen and directed Hollwood star Michael Sheen in a short movie called Barbados.

Mr Manson-Smith told the court about a long-standing problem with broken windows in the unoccupied flat at the top of the building.

‘When we moved into the property there was broken glass and broken window frames dangling,’ he said.

‘We called Mr Arthurworrey to ask him to deal with it and there was no response.’

He said he then went through a solicitor and then a tribunal, who appointed a manager, John Fowler, to mediate between the parties and help resolve issues.

Arthurworrey still did not respond to requests to fix the window, he said.

‘It was getting worse and more and more glass was falling down and over time pigeons began roosting in this top flat causing quite a lot of nuisance.’

At the end of July 2019 while Mr Manson-Smith was on holiday with his family, he received a notification on his phone saying a motion camera he had set up in his front garden had been set off.

The footage showed several men climbing up a ladder.

When the family returned, they found pigeon droppings covering the patio outside their door.

Read more: Advertising executive, 36, convicted of harassment after falsely claiming she was stalked and filmed by BAFTA-nominated TV comedy director who has worked with Sacha Baron Cohen and Michael Sheen 


They found building debris and a dead rat covered in writhing maggots in the recycling bin.

‘We came in through the back entrance and we were a bit taken aback, shocked, to see lots of pigeon droppings all over the back patio and various other bits of paint scrapings,’ said Mr Manson-Smith.

‘Then I went around the front and the bottom part of the front garden was a sea of paint scrapings and building debris.

‘The windows that had been broken in the flat had now been boarded up so I guess all the pigeons that had been roosting in the flat were now on the top of the building and on the pipes.’

Mr Manson-Smith recorded the scene with his iPhone. The footage, played in court, showed the extent of the droppings and zoomed in on a feather with a fly crawling on it.

When asked about the feather Mr Manson-Smith said: ‘Yeah, sometimes pigeons would fall down and die.’

A year later Mr Manson-Smith found water leaking through the light fittings and the smoke alarms in the front hall and in his children’s bedroom.

Arthurworrey was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment suspended for two years and he will have to pay a victim surcharge of £140.

Judge Matthew Gullick had ordered Arthurworrey to pay damages totalling £273,475 to the Manson-Smiths with £32,000 in costs at the High Court in July 2021.

He said: ‘Even a criminal conviction for harassment, a period of imprisonment and the imposition of a restraining order have not been sufficient to dissuade the defendant from continuing his harassment of the claimants.

‘In my judgment it is a serious and lengthy course of harassment and one which has driven Mr Manson-Smith and his family from their home.’

In his 25 year career Arthurworrey also produced the Associates, The Love Affair and Aswad.

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