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Mother killed herself + disabled daughter after bullying campaign

(35 Posts)
SomeGuy Thu 17-Sep-09 21:37:31

See -abuse-gang.html

"A mother who killed herself and her disabled daughter in a blazing car had faced constant abuse and threats from a gang of youths, an inquest heard today.

Fiona Pilkington made dozens of calls to the
police and council officials to complain about the way her daughter, Francecca Hardwick, was being picked on.

The inquest heard that Ms Pilkington, a full-time carer to her daughter, had apparently carried out the act of murder-suicide because of the abuse.

Ms Pilkington's severely dyslexic son, Anthony Hardwick, was also victimised by the gang.

Giving evidence, Pam Cassell, 72, said her daughter Ms Pilkington had taped up her letter box the week before she died because she feared fireworks would be put through it.
Mrs Cassell said: 'It was Halloween and firework night coming up and Fiona was dreading them because she knew that the children would start throwing things at the house and start putting fireworks through the letter box.

'They would start on Fiona and throw things and then go round the back and do things in the garden. It was always the same group of youths.

'Sometimes they would go round the side of the house and urinate.

'They used to ring on the doorbell and say that she had been hitting her kids. They were petty things like that.

The inquest heard that the abuse started when the family moved into the house in Barwell, Leicestershire, but it escalated after Anthony fell out with a friend who lived on the street.

The unnamed boy was at the centre of this gang, even though Anthony had attended sleepovers at his house as a young child, the inquest heard.

He would taunt them at the front of their house by shouting: 'We can do anything we like and you can't do anything about it.'
Mrs Cassell added: 'Fiona couldn't defend herself. She was very shy and she didn't want any trouble so she tended to ignore them. She was very vulnerable.'

Asked by coroner Olivia Davison why the family were picked on, Mrs Cassell said: 'Fiona existed and they didn't like it. I don't think she was their sort and there was something that she did that they took exception to.'

During one incident Fiona Pilkington's son Anthony was put at knifepoint into a shed, the inquest heard. But despite dozens of calls to the police and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, little was done to help the family.

Mrs Cassell said that at one point the council imposed a 300-yard exclusion zone for the youths around the family's house but that had failed to enforce it.

She said her daughter contacted the council four or five times and phoned police at least 10 times a year demanding help.
She said the school holidays and the weekends were the worst and her daughter constantly had the curtains in her front room closed.

Ms Pilkington's mother added that the family had never taken a holiday together and her daughter did not receive respite care because she did not know how to get it.

Asked by the coroner why her daughter took Frankie on the fateful trip, Mrs Cassell said: 'She didn't think anybody would be able to cope with Frankie, she was getting a lot stronger.'

The court also heard that when the family made friends with the paperboy, the gang started abusing him so he stopped being friendly.

The inquest heard that families in Barden Road were still being abused, despite the deaths of Ms Pilkington and her daughter.

Ms Pilkington's mother said she believed her daughter allowed Frankie to take her pet rabbit with her on their journey to the lay-by, in the hope it would stop her from trying to escape the burning car. But no remains were found and it is believed the animal escaped before the car exploded."

AvrilH Fri 18-Sep-09 07:05:32

extracts from the police log here:

shame on the bullies, and those who chose not to help their victims

Callisto Fri 18-Sep-09 08:25:08

I can't imagine how awful this must have been. So many people should have stood up to stop this and didn't. This poor woman should have had understanding and help from her neighbours and instead she was terrorised.

southeastastra Fri 18-Sep-09 08:32:06

this is so awful, why are these kids still getting away with it?

moffat Fri 18-Sep-09 14:10:44

this has made me so angry and sad

meltedmarsbars Fri 18-Sep-09 14:16:12

The daughter went to the same school as my dd2. Its very sad.

ChopsTheDuck Fri 18-Sep-09 14:17:54

What a tragedy. sad

expatinscotland Fri 18-Sep-09 14:19:35

Why call it 'bullying'? It's hate crime.

When you terrorise people on the basis of their ability, sexual orientation, gender, age or race, it's hate crime.

And the perpetrators are not bullies, they're criminals.

pagwatch Fri 18-Sep-09 14:35:52

I am beyond finding this sad and tragic. A car crash is a tragedy. This is fucking unbelievable. The people involved are revolting scum.The fact that the police are unable to do anything about this kind of behaviour is deeply shameful.
We should be ashamed that people in this country have to live like this.

<<pag remembers her basic liberal views and trys to resist the urge to want to go out and buy a big fucking gun>>

The poor son left behind.

cocolepew Fri 18-Sep-09 14:40:36

This is horrific, that poor family had been let down by the police and the local council. Awful.

LuluMamaaaaarrrrr Fri 18-Sep-09 14:40:53

and the way she ended their lives, how desperte she must have been to do it this way
how sad and possibly preventble too

clumsymum Fri 18-Sep-09 14:43:39

of course we are getting a much more understanding society, where disabled people are being accepted.

My Arse.

This story is dreadful, awful. How can you live in a house where youths threaten you every time you put your nose outside? How can the police believe that they don't have to do anything if people habitually urinate in your garden, or throw things at the house?

I feel so very very sad that this had to happen

SomeGuy Fri 18-Sep-09 14:47:50

Bullying is natural use of the English language. They were indeed bullied. This behaviour is behaviour that we are universally capable of recognising as wrong, without needing to be told that it is criminal.

'Hate crime' is a neologism that focuses on the fact that the behaviour is criminal (highlighting the failings of law enforcement), whereas the implied perpetrator/victim nature of 'bullying' highlights the effect of the behaviour on the victim (in this case leading to murder/suicide).

I wouldn't read too much into a thread title of constrained length anyway.

SomeGuy Fri 18-Sep-09 14:56:26

It is horrible for many reasons. It would have been difficult enough managing two disabled children with no help (husband gone), but also being vulnerable and unaware of things like respite care (things like this require people to understand and fight bureaucracy, which those at need are least likely to be able to do).

And the neighbours from hell situation is also horrible, there's actually very little most people can do if they have them - if your next door neighbour threatens to kill you/burns your house down/etc, your best option is to move. But again it was unlikely to have been an option.

It is also alarming that the parents of those involved apparently lacked a basic sense of right and wrong to tell their children not to do this. It is really not complicated stuff.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Fri 18-Sep-09 15:04:15

let down by the police who just wont tackle hate crimes.

2shoes Fri 18-Sep-09 15:21:15

poor family.
not suprised to read that the police did nothing, they would have just pushed the onus of proof back on the family.

Squishabelle Fri 18-Sep-09 15:24:12

This is so sad.

SomeGuy Fri 18-Sep-09 15:32:35

Hate crimes are officially police priority.

I was told by a gay friend that in the 80s they wouldn't go to the police, but nowadays the police are very helpful.

I think this reflects more the problems of sink estates and how the police handle them. In my area, which is low crime, the police put out a newsletter discussing anti-social behaviour which has included things like littering and a swing in the playground being deliberately tangled.

Suffice to say the police don't have the hardest job here.

The situation in a problem estate is very different, there will be far more going on, the fact that the perpetrators were 'youths' makes it hard for the police, because it's been seen time and again that children can commit crime almost with impunity.

The police really don't have that much control over problem teens.

The crimes weren't actually seen as hate crimes under Leicestershire policy at the time (since changed):

'Chris Tew, former assistant chief constable of Leicestershire police, admitted the biggest problem in the policing of the case had been a failure to link the incidents, which came after many others in previous years, and recognise they were due to the family's disabilities.

Tew said that if the family's vulnerability been taken into account and the incidents linked, they would have been identified as hate crimes which "might have made a difference".

But at the time the force's hate crime policy did not even identify disability as a potential reason for being targeted.'

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 made crimes motivated by the victim's disability a hate crime for sentencing purposes - but this was not brought into effect until 2005, and presumably police policy would have followed some time after that.

The most serious incidents are from 2004, when the actions would not in fact have been hate crimes.

2shoes Fri 18-Sep-09 21:59:33

I have just had to phone the police in regard to a hate crime, I have to say the moment I mentioned the back ground, the PC took it a lot more seriously. if anything good can come out of this terrible thing, it will be that the police will take action quicker.

victim Tue 29-Sep-09 11:25:12

i was so sicken to hear this story on the news this morning. My 12 yr old daughter and l have been bullied by a neighbouring family for over nine years, my home attacked 24 times, had a knife(carving)thrown at me, attempted hit and runs on my whole family(sister, father(69 this month) defamation of character, slander, being followed everywhere, being verbally abused while out shopping,mother tortured to death with abuse and then being called a bastard lying in her coffin, police drug busting my fathers house by accident because of a hoax phonecall(my father could have dropped dead he suffers hypertension) car was smashed, housing executive believeing that the nuisance family are actually the victims, not allowed to use cctv, not allowed to record any attacks as l am breaking this families human rights, afraid to sleep in my home at night, l am told to keep away from my father as it is annoying the neighbours, told to wear support pants because my wiggling bottom was offending the neighbours and l was breaching my tenancy agreement for wiggling, got two letters saying l was having my home taken off me because l supposedly laughed at the neighbours, l have made 3 attempts on my own life my daughter caught me twice, this family have me destroyed but the police are making me feel like l am exaggerating and the housing executive think l have an agenda against this family while they walk around laughing at whats happening. I NEED SOMEONE TO HELP ME PLEASE, I AM DYING INSIDE. THESE PEOPLE ARE DICTATING MY FATE AND I CANNOT STOP IT!

Jujubean77 Tue 29-Sep-09 12:40:07

sad I just don't know what to say

2shoes Tue 29-Sep-09 12:58:13

it makes the crap we have had over the fast 3 years seem small(but it isn't iynwim) I wish the sodding police would act and do something to these nasty scum

vickiadele Tue 29-Sep-09 12:59:47

I used to live in bradgate road which adjoins onto barden road where this happened, i moved when i was 10, it was not all that great then, alot of nasty ppl in barwell, not the little village you may imagine, its more like a town, hinckley and bosworth council need to step up, there has never been anything to do in barwell, from the days when my mum grew up there. We moved to southampton to get away from the ppl bullying me constantly, its such a tragedy, but i dont understand why she didnt also move away or move in with a family member till she had got a better place, it was obviously bad enough to, I hope there at peace now x

vickiadele Tue 29-Sep-09 13:10:56

all the ppl havin probs like wot victim wrote, this may be the best time to go back to the police, all the headline press will be desperate for the police to buggar up again, they will be on there toes, if they dont help, cant you go to your local mp? Hope it gets better

LoveBeingAMummy Tue 29-Sep-09 13:15:10

Victim please try to get some more help, have you tried the CAB? Have you been to your GP?

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