STEVEN Waring and William Dutton admit they have been involved in a long-running neighbour dispute.

It culminated, on January 26, with Mr Waring being taken to hospital with neck wounds.

But neither family, who live in Breightmet Drive, Breightmet, can agree on how the incident came to happen.

And yesterday Mr Dutton was cleared of stabbing Mr Waring in the neck because of the confusion surrounding what actually happened on the day.

Police have confirmed there has been a series of disputes between the two families.

Mr Waring claimed his wife had been attacked by Mr Dutton’s son weeks before the January incident.

Police were called but no charges were pressed.

Then, on January 26, Bolton Crown Court heard Mr Dutton believed his son, Ronald, who has disabilities, had been pushed by Mr Waring.

The 89-year-old came out of his home armed with a kitchen knife.

What happened next is still unclear.

Mr Waring said: “The next thing I knew, everything was warm.

“He was about three paces away, but it did not hurt.

“They were ringing for an ambulance, I was bleeding like a stabbed pig.

“I went inside not feeling that good, and was rushed to Manchester Royal Infirmary. They did emergency surgery, and I had an operation the same night. They told me I was lucky to be alive, the knife had been millimetres away from the jugular vein and my voice box.

“I thought I was dying.”

Mr Waring was taken to hospital with a three-inch gash on his neck, which had to be stapled together.

He was forced to wear a dressing on it 24 hours a day.

The Warings moved to Breightmet Drive 12 years ago and have repeatedly clashed with the Duttons.

‘Feud was a long and bitter one’

NEIGHBOURS living close to the warring Duttons and Warings have said the feud has been a long and bitter one.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “There is a well-known bitterness between the two families that has been going on for many years and the police seem to be called at least once a month.

“There have been shouting incidents and assaults before now but this time it has clearly escalated.”

Another neighbour, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said that although they were aware of the feud, they were “completely shocked” when they heard about the incident in January.

He added: “It is remarkable to hear. William has lived in the house since about 1970 and I have always thought he was a mild-mannered, polite man and also very small and frail.”

A police spokesman confirmed there was a history of disputes between the two families and that they had attended an incident weeks before the attack.

He said: “There has been an historical neighbour dispute between the two parties for a number of years, which resulted in occasional visits by the police for anti-social behaviour.

“The police dealt with a minor assault on January 4, which was resolved by way of restorative justice with both families agreeing to enter into mediation.”