A ROW between a University of Brighton law lecturer and his landlords turned violent as his lawyer wife threw buckets of water over them and he drove at them in his car, a court heard today.

Dr Peter Orji, 43, allegedly threatened to ‘torch’ the £400,000 detached house they were renting after their landlord was given a court order forcing him and his wife Chinenye to move out.

A court heard landlord Navraj Singh and his brother Sukhdip, a police officer, then turned up to change the locks and when Dr Orji and his wife arrived to collect possessions he tried to run the Singh brothers over.

The following day, prosecutors say the Orjis returned to the four bedroom house in Southampton, Hants, with Dr Orji knocking Sukhdip to the ground after running at him like a ‘rugby player’.

As that happened, Mrs Orji allegedly armed herself with a foot-long metal pole and struck the Singhs’ friend Martin Conlon on the head before slapping Navraj’s iPhone from his hand as he tried to call the police.

Dr Orji currently teaches law at the University of Brighton, East Sussex, specialising in property and e-commerce law, and has also taught at Kingston University in London.

His wife studied law at the University of Benin, before working as a lawyer for the education support company she and her husband founded.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court, Hants, today heard the Orjis became enraged when they arrived at the house they had been renting to find their former landlords changing the locks.

Prosecutor Harrison Willis told the court on March 25, last year, Dr Orji told his landlords he would burn down their house in Southampton, Hants, before trying to run them over.

A day later, the prosecutor said the law lecturer’s wife threw buckets of water over the Singh brothers and their friends.

It was heard Mrs Orji also hit one of the Singhs friends with a metal pole and slapped Navraj's £700 iPhone from his hand, smashing it.

Opening the case, Mr Willis said: “Both defendants were former tenants who had been given notice to be removed from the property by March 20, last year.

“When Navraj and Sukhdip went to the house, it appeared the property had been left in quite a state."

Giving evidence today, Sukhdip, a police officer for 11 years, told the court Dr Orji and his wife were ‘aggressive’ and had left him fearing for his life.

He said: “We had previous dealings with the Orjis. They had been hostile and aggressive to my brother.

“On March 25, last year, we went into the house. Immediately, there was this stench of rotting food. I also noticed the smell of gas from a hob being left on.

“Whilst on the phone to a locksmith, Mr Orji pulled on to the driveway in a silver Renault Megane. He revved the car, which startled me.

“He came onto the driveway at speed - if I had stayed where I was I would have been hit.

“When they left, I heard Mr Orji say under his breath ‘I will torch the place,’ as they got into their vehicle.

“He also said ‘stay where you are’, which I didn’t understand at first. But then he revved his engine and drove directly at me.

“He then reversed and drove at my friend and then at my brother. If my friend Amrit had not moved, he would have had broken legs.

“The following day, my brother said Mr Orji and his wife’s cars were back at the property.

“As we tried to secure the house again, because they had broken a door lock and smashed a window, they returned.

“I could see Mr Orji was looking to assault one of us. He looked like he wanted to hurt somebody and he just came barraging [sic] towards me like he was a rugby player. I couldn’t hold him back and we fell to the ground.

“He was trying to fight me and my friend Martin Conlon came to help using reasonable force.

“Mr Orji’s wife then tried to attack my brother while he was on the phone to the police. She was charging towards him.

“I then recall hearing a clunking that made me feel sick to my gut and could see Mrs Orji had picked up a metal pole and had hit Martin over the top of the head.

"I was on the phone to the police and a bucket of murky water was thrown over me.

“I was drenched and feared I may catch a disease because I had seen the state of the house and didn’t know where the water had come from.”

Navraj Singh told the court he had no option but to seek a court order forcing the Orjis from the house because they had stopped communicating with him and even changed the lock on the front door without telling him.

When he turned up on March 25 to arrange for a locksmith to come out, the lawyers also arrived and a blazing row began.

Mr Singh said: "They had refused to communicate with me for some time. I would send them texts or call, but they would not respond.

“The day after we first turned up, they came back as we were trying to secure the property. I tried to tell them what we were doing, but Mr Orji just tried to push past.

“Mrs Orji got hold of a metal pole. I had my hands up and she hit my forearms with it. She also hit our friend Martin over the head with it.

“I was then pushed by her and she punched me in the face. There was some force. I had a swollen cheek.

“She also broke my iPhone when she knocked it from my hand.”

Former police officer Martin Conlon, who was allegedly struck with the pole, added: "Mr Orji had hold of Sukh’s collar and at that point I thought it was getting out of control.

“I stepped forward to try to restrain Mr Orji. Next thing, I received a heavy blow to the back of my head which put me down on my knee, I was disorientated. I saw Mrs Orji had a metal bar in her hand.”

Dr Orji denies two count of using threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause fear and one of assault by beating, one of theft and one of criminal damage.

Chinenye Orji denies three charges of assault by beating, one of theft, one of using threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause fear, one of criminal damage and one of obstructing a police officer.

The trial continues tomorrow.