Dream home becomes family’s living nightmare

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR. . . . The Knockena Estate on the Buncrana Road. DER4214MC005
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR. . . . The Knockena Estate on the Buncrana Road. DER4214MC005

A Derry woman has spoken about how an “evil” gang of children has turned her family’s dream home in a new Derry estate into a living nightmare.

The 31-year-old described how her Turkish-born husband has been subjected to a litany of racist taunts such as ‘Paki’ and ‘black b******’, while her children have been repeatedly attacked and left terrified in the Knockena estate off the Buncrana Road.

She also described how the gang have urinated in the family’s garden, tore up a trampoline and how at the weekend her youngest son, aged 10, was allegedly attacked as he returned from the shop on an errand to buy bread.

The family contacted the ‘Journal’ after returning from a trip to Turkey at the weekend to hear that graffiti had to be removed from their walls, while their house was also pelted with eggs in their absence and children’s bikes stolen from the yard. A threat to burn down the house has also allegedly been made.

“The wains are terrified, totally terrified,” the mother-of-three said.

“I’ve had it. I’ve really had it. Last night I couldn’t sleep, I feel like a zombie. The kids are afraid to walk out this morning to get the bus to school.”

The family- who have asked not to be named- said they were delighted to move into Knockena when the Buncrana Road social housing estate opened in Christmas 2012, but after a trouble-free decade renting in the Waterside home said they were subjected to abuse by some adults initially, before children from a number of families continued the torment.

The woman said: “I said to Apex I really don’t want to move because I have put my heart and soul in here and I have made the kids feel it is their home, but for me to protect my own kids, if it has to got to the stage now were they’re threatening to burn the house down as they said last night, they’re graffitiing over the walls, which I don’t want my kids to see, what option am I left with?

She added: “They are bad kids, they are evil, they could do anything.”

The woman said she has now asked Apex for alternative accommodation after making “at least” 20 complaints to the housing body and the PSNI.

PSNI Inspector Terry McKenna said they were aware of a number of issues in this location. :“A racial motive is behind these incidents and we are liaising with the family and the housing association.

“We are appealing for assistance in our investigations. We would also appeal to people in the community to use any influence they have to bring these incidents to an end.”

A spokeswoman for Apex Housing said: “Apex has policies and procedures in place for dealing with reports of Anti Social Behaviour to ensure that tenants are supported and appropriate action is taken to address issues where they arise.

“We confirm that we are currently liaising with a number of tenants and the PSNI following complaints of anti social behaviour at Knockena. We are working to resolve the concerns raised. It would not, however, be appropriate to comment further at this time.”