(2107SL160) Photo: Stephen Latimer
(2107SL160) Photo: Stephen Latimer

An elderly Galliagh couple say they are being kept prisoners in their own home by a gang of children.

And the situation has got so bad that they spend most of their time cooped up in their bedroom to get away from the taunts and insults which are hurled at them on a daily basis.

Lily Simpson, 65, and her 67-year-old partner Brian O’Rourke, who suffers from epilepsy, say the situation has been going on for years, but recently has been getting even worse.

“On Wednesday night they were shouting and roaring outside the house and it went on until half past two in the morning,” Lily said.

“They call us names – ‘Mad Lily’ and ‘Epilepsy Brian’.

“We’ve just had no peace at all since the start of the holidays.”

The couple say they are unable to sit in their front room because as soon as the children see them through the window, they start to gather outside and the trouble begins again.

“It’s been about two years since we used the living room at night because as soon as they see us they start shouting,” said Lily.

“We just stay in the bedroom for the rest of the day just to get away from them because they can’t see us in there.”

The couple say they have had to put up with abuse for years. They have had bricks and bottles thrown at the house, windows smashed and the Housing Executive has had to completely replace their front window frame as it was so badly damaged.

A spokesman for the Housing Executive said no specific incident had yet been reported to them.

But she said: “We treat the issue of anti-social behaviour very seriously and would ask the tenants concerned to report any problems to our neighbourhood officer in the local District Office, who will investigate any complaints.”

Lily says the situation is so bad that she only will leave the house to go to the doctor’s or for a hospital appointment.

“I won’t even go outside to hang up the washing,” she said.

“My sister lives over the road and I won’t go and see her – she has to come and see me instead.

Lily says some of the children are as young as seven and she can’t understand why their parents can’t keep them under control.

“Parents should know what their children are doing,” she said.

“Complaining to the parents doesn’t do any good because they can’t do anything wrong to them.”

“We just want to be left in peace.”