Widow (72) ‘tortured’ by gangs in her own home

The flats at Drumleck Drive.
The flats at Drumleck Drive.
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A 72-years-old Derry woman has issued a plea to parents to talk to their children after being “tortured” by anti-social behaviour outside her home for years.

Patsy Brennan, who was widowed less than a year ago with the death of her husband, Bernard, has also called on the authorities to ensure the incidents are stopped for good.

Mrs. Brennan has lived at a flat above the shops along Drumleck Drive for the past 45 years and said that the anti-social behaviour began several years ago.

She said there had been repeated incidents of eggs and snowballs being thrown at her windows; gangs removing the industrial rubbish shoot used by the tenants and throwing it about and even episodes of youths defecating and urinating there.

“They pull the shoot out and they throw it over the railing of the flats. They throw it onto the streets and some day somebody is going to be passing and they are going to get killed. And the noise of it!” she said, adding: “They throw eggs at the front windows, and they go to the toilet. During the recent snow, it was terrible. We counted 17 of them and we knew they were going to do something. They took the snow off cars and pelted my window. You couldn’t even see out of it.

“When you say something to them they would be calling you all the names of the day.”

Mrs. Brennan’s friend, Dermot Duddy added: “Her husband is dead almost one year ago and he used to get tortured as well.
“Patsy has been to the council and and my friend and I have been down with her. Nothing has changed. She can’t get to sleep at night. Patsy has a young grandchild who visits and she should not be witnessing this either,” he maintained.

Mr. Duddy added that these were not small children but were aged around 15 and 16.

Mrs. Brennan has called for the Housing Executive to install gates as a safety measure.

A council spokesperson confirmed that it has recently been contacted regarding ongoing anti-social behaviour in the Drumleck Drive area.

“Community Safety Wardens have stepped up patrols in the area and officers are working with other local agencies including the PSNI and Housing Executive to find a lasting resolution to these issues,” she said.

“Measures currently being considered include a home visit by the Community Safety Wardens and the installation of additional home security items for the resident.

“We would like to remind people that everyone (especially parents) has a duty to safeguard the elderly in our community and we would encourage people to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour to the PSNI or the Community Safety Wardens immediately.”

A Housing Executive spokesperson concurred that they were currently liaising with the PSNI and the Community Safety Team. “We have been asked in the past to install gates, however, there were issues raised around blocking escape routes in case of an emergency. We are making arrangements to call with the tenant this week to discuss her concerns.

“The Housing Executive takes the issue of anti-social behaviour very seriously. We work closely with communities and other relevant agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“However, to be truly effective in challenging this behaviour we need people to come forward and report incidents as and when they occur.”