A U.K. judge slapped an eight-week sentence on a woman named Sonia Bryce for repeatedly disturbing her neighbors with loud music, swearing, and banging. One of the more interesting details of the case was that Bryce played Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” on a loop for half an hour.
Clare and Jonathan Tidmarsh put up with Bryce’s racket for months. Police repeatedly arrested the woman for noise complaints, but she would not stop harassing the Tidmarshes.
After the initial noise injunction against Bryce, police busted her 10 more times for noise complaints. Only on the tenth time did a judge get serious with Bryce and send her to jail for six weeks.
She served her sentence, but shortly after being released from jail, Bryce found herself arrested again. Although she claims she doesn’t even like Ed Sheeran, the Tidmarshes accused her of playing “Shape of You” repeatedly for a half an hour. Police believed the Tidmarshes and hauled Bryce back to jail.
Judge Philip Gregory of Walsall County Court then sentenced her to an eight-week sentence and read her some choice words. He told Bryce, “You must learn that you should behave as a reasonable and responsible adult, and not make life for your neighbors the misery that you have.”
He continued, “You have displayed nothing but violent animosity towards your neighbor, and I am quite convinced that you do not care.”
Part of the reason for the harsh sentence and forceful words was that Bryce was a serial offender and seemed to be waging a war against her neighbors. Clare kept a diary of all of the incidents that showed a pattern of intentional harassment and disturbances.
The judge explained his rationale for the jail term by saying, “Everybody is entitled to live in a degree of peace and quiet with the usual give and take of society, but you do not behave like a civilized person, and you have got to learn that you will.”
Unfortunately, the repeated subjection to Sheeran’s music has made the Tidmarshes quit listening to the popular singer. Clare said, “I used to like Ed Sheeran but I’ve taken him off my playlist. It drove us crazy.”
Bryce pled for mercy from the judge, saying that she did not want to be separated from her children.
The judge acknowledged the gravity of that separation but refused to give a more lenient sentence to the serial offender. Perhaps when she gets out of jail this time, she’ll have learned her lesson.