A man who drove a car at his neighbour told police she jumped out in front of him.

The victim drove off her property on December 18, and saw neighbour Thomas William Noy mowing his lawn as she left.

However, as the victim drove down the street, she noticed Noy driving behind her in a white vehicle, police prosecutor Sergeant Stephen Butler told the Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

The victim pulled into a layby near Seafront Rd, but Noy pulled in behind her, Mr Butler said. When the victim got out of her car to confront Noy, he stared at her and revved the motor, before accelerating towards her.

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The victim had to step backwards to avoid being hit. Noy sped off, and when spoken to by police later said the victim jumped out in front of his car.

He was originally charged with assault with a blunt instrument, but police amended the charge to common assault, and Noy pleaded guilty.

"It's an ongoing dispute between neighbours," defence lawyer Anna Brosnahan said.

She said there was "no actual assault in terms of any physical touching".

Judge David Cameron sentenced Noy to 50 hours of community work.