The Third Attack develops into a Nightmare

The third attack described above developed an unbelievable aspect when my attacker actually got me arrested. The events unfolded so

Monday

Attack occurs. Taken by ambulance to the Eye Hospital at the Queen Alexandra Hospital

Tuesday

In the evening, the police call round and take me to the Central Police Station in Portsmouth where I lodge my complaint

Wednesday

I enter the kitchen around 1700 and notice immediately that the washing machine has been switched off on me. Shortly the attacker comes back in and starts being funny by the kitchen door. An altercation takes place and he storms off saying : "I am going to get you - my father is in the CID'.

I return to my room with my meal and obviously lock the door. Maybe ten minutes later (when coincidentally I was on the phone to the landlord complaining about the threatening behavior I had just experienced), four police officers kick my door down and arrest me. I am marched off in full view of the neighborhood into one of several police vehicles that had turned up and taken to the Central Police Station where I spent several hours in the cells (so I was arrested immediately on the say-so of someone who was himself due to be arrested for an attack on me 48 hours beforehand). My attacker had told the police I had attacked him with a knife in the kitchen.

I was 'let off' without charge but under the British justice system, this is not proof of innocence.

For what it is worth, his own statement complained about

  • racial abuse, which couldn't be further from the truth (although obviously I have no proof to support this).

  • me observing him every time he went out (as though I haven't got anything more important to do with my life). As I imply elsewhere, this would be an unusual thing to do, given that he never went out. Anyway, the layout of the building meant that I could never realize he was going out until he actually opened the front door (which would be too late for me to 'observe' him').

His description of what I was wearing at the time was wildly inaccurate, which implies that he never actually saw me in the kitchen (he was just standing adjacent to the door while I was at the table behind the door).

This whole situation could indeed have turned into a real nightmare, because if I had actually owned a knife I would have felt fully justified in carrying it for self-protection given what had just happened to my eye. Except that if I had actually carried a knife, then it would presumably have been easier to get me convicted of an offence, which would then have brought my teaching career to an end.

I get the feeling that the lenient sentence given to my attacker was influenced by my arrest. Certainly, when I have latterly tried to enquire further about the assaults on me, the fact of my arrest would come up.

From a legal viewpoint, I would be interested to know whether an offender can reduce the severity of his penalty by inventing a counter-allegation against the person he has attacked, before he himself is arrested. If you know the legal situation, please email me .

Despite these accusations, the bully was never deterred from entering the kitchen again while I was there (work out for yourself whether any of his other actions described lower down on these pages are the type of actions you would aim at someone who has attacked you with a knife). Personally, if I found myself in the position of a fellow tenant attacking me with a knife then I would have moved out the accommodation immediately (if the attacker had not been punished).

My DNA was added to the national database. In November 2009, this topic hit the news as result of European rulings about the validity of holding DNA records of innocent people.

Indignities I have suffered whilst being subject to a long period of relentless bullying and harassment – a continual affront to my dignity

All these refer to experiences after the landlord decided the thug could stay even though he had acquired a criminal record for assaulting me, but obviously some experiences were also present prior to the assault. Like all bullies, he seemed to have complete freedom and suffered no retribution. Once he learnt that he was not to be thrown out for nearly kicking my eye out, he knew that nothing else he did would result in eviction.

He could bully me by virtue of my markedly smaller stature and by virtue of the fact I could not risk any blot on my record putting my current and future work in education in danger – he knew full well I would not retaliate. And the landlord just sat back and let him get on with it!

  • the bully believes that he has been let off scot-free – he does not believe he has a criminal record. Although he definitely does have a criminal record, nevertheless the deterrent effect has been nullified quite a bit if he doesn’t believe it. You can imagine how I feel listening to the bully tell me in triumphant tones he hasn’t done anything wrong, legally or morally. He is totally unrepentant.

  • continual door-slamming – of the entrance to the flat directly adjacent to my room (of an unusual nature – he would exit the flat slamming the door and then return about 30-60 seconds later slamming the door again). The landlord denied it was happening - see below, where people involved in the Fiona Pilkington case also talk about the 'reporting of things that never happened'.

  • insulted on an ad-hoc basis (i.e. never knowing whether I could have a relaxing trouble-free evening after work or not)

  • being arrested – he told the police I had attacked with a knife in the kitchen. I was dragged out in handcuffs in full view of the neighborhood. Despite these accusations, the bully was never deterred from entering the kitchen again while I was there (work out for yourself whether any of his other actions described on these pages are the type of actions you would aim at someone who has attacked you with a knife).

  • my back mudguardI had the cover of my bike continuously pulled off. The cover started to have tears, which initially I credited to the landlord because of the coming and goings during works. Then in the process of moving house, the back mudguard fell off my bike because three of the four rods connecting the mudguard to the wheel had totally disappeared and the screw holding the one remaining rod to the wheel had also disappeared. The bike was stored adjacent to the Garden Flat in an area very restricted during the day and fully locked during the evening, and it was under cover (apart from the instances explained in the first sentence)

  • whilst trying to mark A-level papers I was confronted with loud music and deliberately blaring television (and on one crucial occasion, a torrent of abuse)

  • despite the landlord denying that door-slamming was taking place, he installed the more advanced type of door-closer which closed it more quietly. Except the bully was slamming the door to deliberately harass me, so it was just attacking the symptons and ignoring the disease. It just allowed the bully to adopt another tactic – i.e double door closing in the early hours, waking me up. As already mentioned he was continually exiting and returning a minute later, which gets on your nerves no matter how quiet it is loss of money via damage during the assaults, and other actions described elsewhere. His refusal to pay his share of the TV license produced a loss of several hundred pounds to me, all told.

  • washing machine turned off, or if I left my washing in too long the machine might be turned on again. In practice, I had to do my washing early on Sunday, when he was delivering newspapers. In the early days when I was still using the oven (for a long time, the bully used to cook in his own room), I had the oven turned off on me as well dinner thrown in bin on return from work locked out of the flat. On that particular occasion I had worked 9 hours continuously without a break or refreshment. I arrive home and start to make a much needed meal, before being locked out when I went to the freezer which had been placed on the landing as a result of work in the kitchen.

  • subjection to smoke etc. – since I had specifically chosen a non-smoking flat because of a quasi-asthmatic problem I have, it was disappointing to be confronted with someone who constantly burned food or who used an oven that needed cleaning. The latter problem caused me problems particularly. Those who have experienced it will know full well how unpleasant it is to be gasping for breath in the early hours.

    he would cook everything by turning the oven on absolute maximum. This would create a lovely smell inside the flat. As always, if no windows were open, he would never open any himself. Cooking ‘aromas’ were a major problem at time – he was always in, he would never open any windows etc. etc. especially since he would often cook fried food . In line with his low IQ he could never figure out the ‘rules’. While he was being requested to open windows/shut kitchen door when cooking fatty foods, he then wanted the kitchen door closed when cooking things like apple pies or Christmas dinner (to quote two obvious examples when he has got upset) despite windows being opened (and often several windows throughout the flat producing through draughts – nevertheless he still wanted the kitchen door closed)

  • A mail order to the value of 50 pounds failed to arrive. While this situation is ambiguous, the very fact of having someone in the vicinity with a criminal record, by itself, creates an unpleasant atmosphere.

  • In early 2009, I sent letters to other tenants (delivered in the early morning before going to work) requesting any assistance towards the possibility of taking civil action against his anti-social behavior. This caused him to throw a wobbly later on the very same day, but how did he found out? – did he open one of the aforementioned letters despite them being addressed to someone else?

 

Remember
  • Bullying and harassment should not be tolerated
  • Landlords have a duty of care to ensure that tenants are treated fairly and to provide a safe, domestic environment.
  • It is against the law to bully and harass an individual


What I would like the police to do

  • give me something in writing telling me that my complaint about being hit in the eye has resulting in someone receiving a penalty for this crime. Up to now this fact has just been transmitted to me by phone. I have been trying to get something in writing but have just been ignored

  • to consider penalizing Vincett for wasting police time His actions latterly are not compatible with those of someone who has been attacked in the kitchen with a knife. He had no qualms about entering the kitchen while I was in there (it was in fact a major component of his relentless bullying - if I happened to stay around long enough in the kitchen). He has greeted my return from work by throwing my dinner in the bin, locking me out, hurling abuse. When he threw my dinner in the bin, it would have been easy enough for me to retaliate by throwing his food in the bin anytime I wanted (on him leaving food in the oven, or in the freezer or fridge) but he knew full well this would not happen. He knew full well that I would not retaliate to any of these actions at all, and most certainly not with a knife attack.

Relevant Article

Note : Those lines that particularly resonate with my experience are in scarlet

'I was being stabbed with pens and kicked in my lessons' South Wales Echo (Cardiff); Oct 15, 2009; Tim Lewis, Katie Norman; p. 12

Full Text: (Copyright 2009 Western Mail and Echo Ltd.)

HANNAH Binding wrote down her feelings during the two years of abuse she reportedly suffered at the hands of bullies.

At the time, she wrote: " I feel completely worthless.

"No-one likes me and I'll always have more enemies than friends. I don't think life is worth living anymore.

"There's no-one there for me, not even teachers.

"There must be something different about me. I really want to know what it is. The colour of my skin might be part of it."

Hannah then wrote of her confusion after being taunted for her white skin colour by people of the same ethnicity.

She continued: " I feel helpless. I've had it all. I've had physical and verbal abuse and I have no idea why.

"I'm scared of everything now. Coming to school is something I dread every day.

"I can't help but think people are going to hurt me or say something to me.

"I'm scared to go out anywhere. I'm even scared of walking my dog because I might meet someone on the way.

"I hate my life and I would do anything to quit living."

A TEENAGER has told how she felt forced to move schools after bullies left her feeling worthless and alone.

Softly-spoken Hannah Binding, 14, was speaking about her ordeal as boxing legend Joe Calzaghe joined fellow sports stars Jamie Baulch and Craig Quinnell to help launch the new Welsh arm of the charity Beatbullying at a special event at Cathays High School. By working with Welsh schools to run workshops and train young people to act as peer mentors, the charity hopes to stop as many young people as possible from reporting similar sufferings to those of Hannah.

The Barry youngster, who was schooled abroad for most of her primary education, said the bullying started when her family returned to live in Wales and she started at Cardiff's Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales High School.

She said: "It started small with name-calling, throwing my coat in the mud, stealing things from my bag and things like that.

"Then it got physical. I was being stabbed with pens and kicked in my lessons.

"It was really frustrating because there was nothing I could do and I was really scared."

Hannah said she told teachers, but she felt her complaints were not taken seriously and she began to dread school every day.

After she was allegedly called a lesbian by her peers and reportedly taunted for the colour of her skin by children of the same ethnicity, South Wales Police began investigating, but no charges were brought against anyone at the school.

The teenager's mum, Andrea, complained to the school but she felt that not enough was done to protect her daughter.

Eventually, Hannah was moved to St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, in Penarth, where she has now started to recover.

The pupil said she wanted to speak out about her experiences in an attempt to raise awareness about bullying.

She said: "I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I went through.

"I would talk to the teachers and it was like talking to a brick wall.

"No-one could help me at all. "I lost all my confidence and I'm afraid of people my age now."

Newbridge-born Calzaghe, 37, said the issue is close to his heart after being bullied when he was Hannah's age.

"It was a long time ago but it is something I still remember very well," said the Strictly Come Dancing contestant.

"Friends who I thought were friends obviously weren't and started to gang up on me.

"I thought it would all go away after a week, then a month but it just carried on.

" It happened over quite a long period and that had quite an effect on me, it worried me so much and stopped me coming out of my shell."

Calzaghe has played a key role in helping to set up the Welsh link to Beatbullying's Cyber Mentors scheme, which is a social networking site enabling young people to confide in each other about bullying on a secure web forum.




Categories :

"Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. Bullying and harassment of any kind are in no-one's interest and should not be tolerated anywhere, but if you are being bullied or harassed it can be difficult to know what to do about it."

"I felt helpless. I've had it all. I've had physical and verbal abuse and I have no real idea why"
"My complaints were not taken seriously.....

    ...it was like talking to a brick wall"


In November 2009, stories started hitting the news concerning the custom of the police giving cautions instead of taking suspects to court

Police Cautions Review - from the Guardian BBC Panorama report John Guest in Bournemouth Echo


and the next day, the topic of DNA hit the news

New Statesman Independent BBC Guardian


Pages on Fiona Pilkington

BBC Guardian Guardian - No. 2 Independent