‘Our neighbor attacked us and was allowed back to the flats’

A young couple talks about experiencing a horrific assault by their neighbor and how the case has left them disillusioned with the criminal justice system. Thomas Rogers, 24, and Morgan Epiver, 25, were living in the Nantiphyllon High Street block of the same flats as Donna Nickerson when she banged Morgan’s head against a wall, pulled her hair, and scratched her arms, leaving deep scars on them. Gave.

Nickerson, 46, later attacked Thomas with a knife, along with the previous 22 convicts. She was freed from court last week after receiving a suspended sentence. You can read our court report here.

The couple claimed that the attitude of the authorities in handling the case has been “shameful” at times. Nickerson was released back to his building in Maesteg on bail without notifying him as well as escaping the knife charge and being spared from prison in disbelief.

Read further:The man got so angry at his neighbors’ new wall that he pierced it

Thomas, who works for Deloitte Professional Services, said the first time he saw Nickerson’s behavior was during a dispute over a parking space shortly before last Christmas. “She said she would oust us, but I dismissed it as a standard Karen,” he said. “We even got a Christmas card from him, so I figured it was all in bed.”

One morning in February, while overturning in the car park of the building, Nickerson drove his car into another neighbor’s vehicle. Thomas told this neighbor what had happened that caused Nickerson to target angry comments at Thomas and Morgan – culminating in a vicious attack on February 18.

Morgan, a counselor, was at her flat the day she heard Nickerson arguing with a neighbor whose car she had damaged. Nickerson was also calling Morgan a “s*** stirrer”. Morgan walks out to the landing and tells Nickerson to stop yelling.

“Donna dropped her shopping and ran upstairs with her hands outstretched,” Morgan said. “She grabbed my throat and slammed my head against the wall. She grabbed my hair, shook my head against the wall, and with her other hand she was hitting my cheek. She was kicking me in the stomach and I was using my feet to block it.

“She was trying to drag me down the stairs. I shifted so that she was in front of me and if I went down she was going too. At one point I thought we were both going downstairs but she let go.” And went down the stairs.”

Morgan had bruises on his face and thighs as well as his arms. On his way home from work, Thomas was talking to her on the phone and heard some confrontation. “I could hear the raised voices,” he said. “I got home as fast as I could. When I arrived, Donna was coming down the stairs.”

A still from footage of Donna Nickerson moments after the attack on Morgan Epivore
(image: Thomas Rogers)

Thomas filmed a video in which Nickerson is seen saying the words “stabbing him”, which he considered a threat against Morgan. Nickerson knocks the phone out of Thomas’ hands and walks into his flat before Thomas walks over and realizes the gravity of the attack. “Morgan was crying in her arms with blood in her arms, where she was bruised and tears rolled down her face,” Thomas said.

He went back downstairs to face Donna, but just before she got there he opened the door “swinging” a large kitchen knife at her, he said. “He swung three or four times and I jumped back outside the front door of the building. He turned, looked at Phil. [a neighbour who witnessed the incident]and went back to her flat. I called the police and stopped at the front door to make sure she didn’t go over to Morgan or go upstairs.”

Police arrested Nickerson and held him in custody for four days before his first trial at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court. After this the court released him back on bail in his flat. Thomas said a police officer had reassured him that there was “no chance” he would be allowed to return to the building. “We had to call the court to find out,” he said. “Nobody told us. It was embarrassing.”

Fearing for their safety, the couple moved to Thomas’ family home while their parents were out for a week. But there was not enough room for them to live after their parents returned, which meant they had to move back to the Nantiphyllon block where Nickerson was also living. “As soon as we had a chance to get out, we did,” Thomas said. “We were only there three weeks, then we got a new tenancy.”

Donna Nickerson
Donna Nickerson Leaves Court

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charged Nickerson with two counts of assault, which he confessed to before serving a 22-week prison term suspended for two years. Although his having a blade was considered a serious factor, there was no specific charge for the knife offense, which Thomas believes contributed to a lighter sentence. The CPS informed Thomas that it could not accuse Nickerson of having a knife in a public place because the communal area in the block of flats was not a public space. And his actions with the knife were not considered to cause “immediate risk of serious bodily harm,” meaning they did not meet the high threshold for threatening with an offensive weapon in a private location.

Thomas believes a “loophole” in the law saw Nickerson charge a less heavy duty than outside the building when he wielded the knife. He said the distinction would be irrelevant to his fears in that situation.

He was working at The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge at the time, but after the attack he found himself in “persistent fight-or-flight mode” at work. “The customers are mainly middle-aged women,” he said. “There were times when a customer would say ‘Excuse me’ and I would be taken aback. I had to leave because of stress. My father is a plumber and I worked for him for two months. New job.

,[The attack] It’s something I repeat in my head many, many times a day. What could I do to stop all this from happening? It definitely changes you. I used to enjoy watching cop shows like Road Wars and now I’m not hungry for it. What happened was real and scary and I felt that my life could have ended in that moment.

“As a 24-year-old man if the shoe was on the other foot they would lock me up and throw the key. If I had come at a woman with a knife, would they have returned me to the flat? No.”

Nickerson — who has previous convictions for actual bodily harm, battery and possession of the blade — was ordered to complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity as well as a suspended sentence without victim services surcharges or prosecution costs. She was ordered to pay £500 each to Thomas and Morgan and was barred from contacting either of them for two years. Thomas said he left the sentence “really disappointing” with a “sour taste”.

In the plea to spare Nickerson from prison, his representative told the court that twice in the month before the trial, Nickerson was hospitalized for mental health reasons. Morgan said: “As someone working in mental health it appears to be a massive loophole that she was capable of committing these violent crimes but was too mentally unwell to go to prison.”

WellsOnline has sought a response from the Home Office regarding Thomas’ concerns over charging options for knife offenses occurring in a communal area. We have also contacted South Meczyki Police for a response to criticism over its communication. You can read more court stories here.

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