AN AUTHOR and his wife accused or terrorising residents in an alleged three-year hate campaign turned a next-door neighbour’s dream retirement move into “a nightmare”, a court has heard.

David and Jacqueline Aston are said to have targeted neighbours Robert and Marie Bain by “incessantly” filming them, making malicious complaints to the police and council and throwing glass into their garden.

Robert Bain, 64, told a trial that the years of abuse he had suffered at the hands of his neighbours had put his life at risk due the stress affecting his blood pressure following a cancer diagnosis.

The civil engineer also claimed the couple’s behaviour towards his family has turned his retirement home into “a nightmare” after he and his wife moved into a new North Berwick estate.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was previously told the Astons had claimed to the authorities that fellow next-door neighbours Catriona Henderson and Stuart McMorris had abused their children and dealt drugs from their home.

The court heard that residents at the Ferrygate estate were left stunned after discovering David Aston, 55, had penned a novel about a stroke victim who develops superpowers and wreaks revenge on his neighbours.

Mr Aston, a former chartered accountant, wrote and self-released A Stroke of Fortune after suffering serious injuries including brain trauma and a stroke in a road crash 10 years ago.

READ MORE: North Berwick: Neighbours allegedly made woman's life 'a living hell'

The book details how a stroke victim named Dave is “disliked by his local neighbourhood” due to being English and seeks revenge on them after developing magic powers.

Mr and Mrs Aston, 58, are standing trial at the capital court accused of engaging in a course of conduct that caused three sets of neighbours fear and alarm at their home on Blackadder Crescent, North Berwick, between September 1, 2018 and October 11, 2021.

On Friday, Robert Bain said he and his wife Marie moved into the estate in 2018 and initially had no problems with the Astons but claimed the couple began an “intimidating and upsetting” vendetta following a falling out.

Mr Bain said the Astons recorded his family on mobile phones at “every opportunity” eventually forcing them to cancel family gatherings in their garden.

He described the constant monitoring as “stalking” and told the court that on one occasion he witnessed Mrs Aston assaulting his wife by throwing a recycling bin at her.

Robert Bain, who gave evidence at the trial of Mr and Mrs Aston, of North Berwick

Robert Bain, who gave evidence at the trial of Mr and Mrs Aston, of North Berwick

Asked about the impact the Astons behaviour has had on his life, the engineer said: “It’s been horrendous.

“We moved to North Berwick to our dream home to retire to, but the dream has turned to a nightmare.

“There is constant harassment, we can’t sit in our garden, we can’t invite friends to our garden, we are always wary and we are walking on egg shells all the time.

“It has had a huge detrimental effect on my health such as sleeping patterns and work.

“I had prostrate cancer and one of the side effects is high blood pressure and I have to monitor my blood pressure on a daily basis and things like coming to court [means] my blood pressure goes up dangerously high.”

During cross examination by David Aston’s lawyer Mark Harrower, Mr Bain denied becoming involved in “a tit-for-tat situation” with his neighbours by logging their movements in an incident diary.

Mr Bain told the court he had been advised by police and council officials to keep a log of alleged incidents carried out by the Astons and excerpts read out in court showed he had kept records of his neighbour’s daily movements.

Mr Bain also told the court that he did not hear his wife make abusive comments towards Mrs Aston during one confrontation.

READ MORE: North Berwick: Trial hears of Astons filming neighbour 248 times

He also denied a suggestion by the lawyer he had been aggressive and caused a workman who was installing a glass panel in his neighbour’s garden to fall over during an incident in April 2021.

Previously Mrs Bain, 66, told the trial that living next door to the Astons was “a living hell” and she had discovered the couple had made 248 mobile phone recordings of her family - including 67 in just one day.

She said the Astons took her to court after making “vexatious” complaints about her dogs Hamish and Brodie barking excessively and the recordings were disclosed as part of the evidence.

The trial has also heard from high school teacher Catriona Henderson, 45, who said her family had been targeted by the Astons following their move to the estate.

Ms Henderson told the court Mrs Aston had made “malicious” reports to the General Teaching Council of Scotland and the NSPCC claiming she had been abusing her children.

She also said her neighbours had reported her and her partner to Crimestoppers claiming they were dealing Class A drugs from their four-bedroom family home.

The teacher said was left “scared and worried” after discovering Mr Aston had written a book featuring a character who develops superpowers and seeks revenge on his neighbours.

The summary trial in front of Sheriff John Cook continues next month.