Maryport woman meets youths who made life hell
Last updated at 21:30, Thursday, 17 June 2010
A MARYPORT woman has come face-to-face with some of the youths who have turned her life into a living hell for the past seven years.
The meeting was part of a new restorative justice programme where offenders meet victims to drive home the consequences of their actions.
Julie Messenger, 44, of Ellenborough Old Road, has been the target of anti-social behaviour that has cost her hundreds of pounds and turned her life, and that of her 12-year-old daughter, into a living hell.
Through the restorative justice scheme, four young teenagers were taken to meet Mrs Messenger so that she could tell them what their actions did.
She said: “A couple of the girls involved seemed to think the whole thing was funny, but when I explained what was happening to me some of them appeared genuinely sorry.”
Mrs Messenger was full of praise for the police and for Allerdale council’s Adrian Braniff, who organises the community payback scheme and arranged for offenders to repaint Mrs Messenger’s walls that had been drawn on.
Neither have been able to help her with a permanent solution, however, which could be as simple as a £3,000 gate.
Mrs Messenger has spent so much on repairing vandalism that she cannot afford the gate.
She is buying her own house, which has an attached archway leading to the old Ellenborough band room. The archway has become a meeting place for youths.
She said: “That doesn't bother me but what they do does. I have found syringes, condoms, even human faeces in the archway.
“I have had graffiti painted on my wall. The cladding has been kicked off. On one occasion my satellite cable was ripped off the wall along with 18 others in the street.
“Cars have their wing mirrors pulled off and windscreens smashed.
“There is a constant noise from footballs or shoes kicking our wall.
“I am trying to provide a nice home for my daughter and to protect her from some of the things that are happening, but she can’t sleep at night for the noise and the worry. Our lives have become hell.
“I have been renovating the house but that work has almost stopped because I am always having to pay to fix the results of their vandalism - £450 for a new drain pipe, £160 to have my Sky satellite cable fixed and it goes on.”
Now four Maryport town councillors have taken up her case.
Councillors Richard Taylor, Martin and Janice Wood and Keith Little have undertaken to find a way for gates to be fitted, either through the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership or through Cumbria County Council.
First published at 19:18, Thursday, 17 June 2010
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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