A reggae lover who defied a ban on playing loud music has been spared jail.

Chrissie Holyoak, 53, of Boxted Close in Buckhurst Hill, was told by a judge that she could be jailed for ignoring warnings over her behaviour.

But Recorder Anthony Ashe sentenced Holyoak to ten weeks in jail, suspended for a year.

He also ordered her to attend an intensive probation scheme and a special project and pay £180 costs.

Holyoak was convicted in June at Chelmsford Crown Court of six offences of breaching an earlier anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) by playing loud music between July 1 and August 27 last year.

The maximum penalty for the offence is five years in prison.

Following the conviction, Recorder Ashe said: "If there's any repeat, I will sentence her to custody. If there's not a repeat, I will consider other sentencing options."

During the trial, the court heard Holyoak did not know what volume would be regarded as a breach of the ASBO.

Holyoak listened to music through headphones during the 27 minutes it took for the jury to find her guilty.

During the hearing her neighbour, Anna Glendenning said on one occasion her family to leave their house after having to cancel a family barbeque.

Mrs Glendenning added: "It was loud reggae music and was intrusive in the garden, once we had to shut the bedroom windows when my husband was ill in bed and on another occasion there was loud music when she was sunbathing on the patio.

"Also, I just wanted to sit in the garden and relax but the music took over the whole garden, causing tension headaches.

“One day we planned to have a family barbeque but we had to abandon it because of the loud music"

She added: "Being a nurse is stressful in another way and I like my own company.

“I do gardening and wash the car and once she was in the garden and said 'I'll f***ing get you, c**t.'"

An environmental inspector who visited the area on July 20 said the music, which also included Smooth FM, was "audible over the noise from the nearby M11."

Holyoak, a former bus driver who suffered back problems, said she had a passion for music and used it to exercise to in the garden.

Describing it as her "therapy" and part of her culture, which takes the stress out of life, she said: "I would crack up if I couldn't listen to music."