Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Reign of terror costs mother and daughter their lives

The harrowing story of Fiona Pilkington is one that has unfortunately come to typify modern Britain for all the wrong reasons. The single mother doused her car in petrol and set light to it. The car also contained her teenage daughter, who had the mental age of four. Both occupants were killed in the ensuing fire.

At first glance, this could have been mistaken for a distressed mother who was at the end of her tether. But piece by piece, the full story has come to light. Fiona Pilkington and her family had endured over two years of intimidation and abuse from their neighbours, and she eventually snapped, killing herself and her daughter.

The abuse began when Ms Pilkington's son, who sufferers from dyslexia, fell out with one of the sons of a neighbouring family. They were then terrorised from not just the younger members of that family, but children and teenagers from other families too, and a campaign of terror was unleashed.

During the inquest that followed, the jury heard that the gang, some as young as ten, would pelt their house with eggs, flour and stones, as well as putting fireworks through the letterbox and shouting obscene insults from the street.

Ms Pilkington contacted Leicestershire police on thirty three occasions, but they did nothing to stop the abuse. They have subsequently admitted that her plight was viewed at the time as a low priority. With nothing to stop them from prolonging their campaign of terror, the thugs continued to ruin the lives of the Pilkington family.

It is behaviour like this that is now becoming more common up and down Britain. While such behaviour is still not ubiquitous, it is getting more prevalent, more violent, more cruel and more terrifying each time it occurs.

The police in this particular case sat on their hands and did nothing. They viewed it as a low priority. It has been reported that at least one of the thugs involved in the abuse was heard to shout "We can do what ever we want, and there's nothing you can do to stop us". People like that obviously have no fear of the police, and indeed are full of contempt for it.

That a mother took such action is a sad testament to the current state of Britain. It is a reflection of both the level of callousness that is becoming ever more prevalent, and the inefficacy of the police. In days gone by, such thugs would have found themselves landed in court, with the very real prospect of doing hard time. Now the only deterrent is the risible badge of honour that is known as an ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour Order).

We need to get tough on this sort of behaviour, put a stop to all the pandering and pussy footing. It just gives these thugs a green light with absolutely no deterrent to ever stop. If we don't put real measures in place to stop this behaviour, there will unfortunately be plenty more people just like Fiona Pilkington.

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