During my stay at 55 Victoria Road North, Southsea, Portsmouth (landlord : S.Yung, owner of the fish and chip shop opposite), I was subjected to three assaults by the same person.
- I was attacked in the kitchen. Thrown on the floor twice, latterly ending up by the sink with the bully wielding a chair over his head.
Yung says he will be evicted if he hits me again. This statement is given so strongly that I decide not to go to the police.
- The thug enters my room and attacks me. I hit my head on something hard on the way down which produces a bump which is still there to this day. My shirt is ripped and phone line destroyed. Fountain pen ink is strewn widely. I do call the police this time but obviously they only mark it down as the first assault - not the second (see above). The next day, I find it hard to get out of bed, or move my neck.
Yung breaks his word and allows him to stay. He says my attacker will not hit me for a third time but will be evicted if he does.
Additionally, this belief that he would not hit me for a third time was stated very firmly at later dates
- I am also in my own room, and the thug kicks a door in my face. I end up on my back on the floor, believing for a few seconds that I had lost my eye. My contact lens is kicked into the side of my eye, where it is extracted in hospital with some small shedding of blood. This shows how 'close' to a disaster this was - my eye definitely did take a heavy blow directly. I had a couple of doctors examining my X-rays debating whether my eye socket had suffered a fracture. In all I had to attend five appointments at the Eye Hospital. Latterly, news of possible problems with Gordon Brown's eye make my heart sink - this is precisely what is worrying me - that damage to my eye will surface later on (this was followed by reports of eye problems experienced by Anne Widdecombe). Meanwhile all the teeth in my top right hand jaw have fallen out, which is creating rather more immediate unpleasant problems.
He is arrested by the police and given a criminal record. On the negative side, this was a caution which I thought was very lenient at the time, and despite appealing further, I received a letter from the police stating that they thought it was a fair penalty. In November 2009, certain publicity started to be given to the practice of giving cautions instead of going to court - see here.
Yung breaks his word and allows him to stay. He says my attacker will not hit me for a fourth time but will be evicted if he does
The thug then continues to act in a predictable way, threatening me on a daily basis
Yung, ever in touch with reality, tells me to 'forget about it'.
After these three assaults, after which Yung refused to throw him out, the thug continued to threaten me - following me around on a daily basis (except for 24th and 25th December (and those days when I was away myself), during a period of time measured in years.
- I was threatened right from the moment I arrived home from work. The thug could be guaranteed to be in - he effectively never went out (and no-one ever came around to see him). I was totally unable to cook anything, or stay in the kitchen for longer than three or four minutes without him commencing his threatening behavior. If I ignored the initial 'threats' then he would typically enter the kitchen himself and become more and more threatening.
- He would continually slam the front door (despite the landlord planting notices on both sides of the door requesting it not to be slammed). He would walk out the door, slamming it and then return about 30-60 seconds later (requiring him to unlock the door), slamming the door again on his return. He would do this maybe once an hour, on average (but only while I was there). After a time, I was sick to the back teeth of this but nevertheless Yung still denied it was happening. Incidentally, other tenants also placed a notice on the front door of the house itself requesting him not to slam that door, which had limited success also. I always knew when he was re-entering the house, despite being on the second storey, but obviously he did not engage in the regular double door-slamming that was his pre-occupation with the front door on our fllor (which was right outside the door to my room).
- I was unable to have my own door open - if so, he would react by opening his own door and turning his music or television up high
- I would have been unable to claim on my insurance because the very presence of someone with a criminal record in the house invalidated my policy (a condition presumably present in most or all insurance policies).
- I was regularly assailed with verbal abuse.
While I was being threatened, Yung made no attempt to abide by any sort of duty of care to provide a safe environment. He just stood by and let the thug get on with it. Apart from anything else, it is against the law to bully and harass an individual. On a latter occasion, when I complained about this situation forcibly, with the thug looking on, Yung burst into laughter. A protest on my part about this, led him to break into laughter yet again. Why he should have broken into laughter is a mystery to me - I can't even imagine why he would do that.
Contemporary with the slob moving in, we had an outbreak of mice, an epidemic which lasted several years, while Yung made no attempt to get rid of them. he told me : "it's no use doing anything about it - mice are everywhere in Portsmouth, you can ask anyone". Or :"it is no use calling in the professionals, they don't do anything other than put poison down".
I called in the Council but Yung still did practically nothing. Further appeals to the Council produced visible changes which must have benefited everyone in the house, if they but knew it. Previously, the place had resembled Steptoe's junkyard. Unfortunately, the slob did not appreciate these changes and starting calling me a 'fucking prick'. Latterly, Yung even installed a completely new kitchen which I think was most likely because of the Council's pressure (as was all other improvements over the years, if the truth be known).
During the Children Need Appeal, 2010, Terry Wogan made a short appeal on Radio 4 which introduced the story of Hassan who along with his siblings, 'slept at night with the blankets over their heads because of the mice flying around the room'. If that is the official definition of poverty, then I was living in poverty. I even had one occasion when I swear a mouse bit me on the finger during the night - if it was not real, it was a hell of a vivid dream, and where the bitemark came from on my finger come from?
Attempted to maintain our privacy was a joke. Yung would just barge into our living space whenever he felt like it. The first we knew of any alterations or work was when the workmaen turned up, no advance warning was ever given. On one occcasion, I went away for a week's holiday, and when I got back I found he had been into my room and re-wired it - all totally unannounced. Trying to tell him that this sort of behavior is not on was akin to banging your head against a wall. He quite literally could not grasp what the problem was.
On one occasion he was using one of my pans for purposes not connected with cooking. I protested (obviously) and made it clear I did not want my property treated in such a manner. I came home from work the next day, and not being able to find the said pan, found he had thrown it out. Enhanced protests about this (all of 24 hours after I had told him that the said pan belonged to me) produced a look of astonishment on Yung's face.
On a later date, he managed to throw out some other kitchenware of mine.
|Yung's Promise||The Reality|
|If I moved into No. 55, I would be alone a lot of the time||The thug was moved in - who never went out. Apart from his paper-round, the number of times he went out for longer than an hour in all the time I was there could be counted on the fingers of both hands|
|if I move into the front room, it will be very quiet - the previous tenant never heard any sound from the neighbors||I immediately had problems with sleeping - next door housed evening workers who would arrive home around midnight and immediately engage in all kinds of 'loud' activities until the early hours. This was complemented by a stereo which was presumably on high enough to be heard by everyone in the house.|
|when he sees I am vacillating about staying because of the thug, he leads me to believe that he is not likely to be a resident much longer - he's already behind with his rent.||In reality, Yung is actively helping him to pay off his rent arrears|
While Yung is carrying on his role as slum landlord, trying to convince him of this attribute would be hopeless - on the contrary he himself genuinely think's he is a much-better-than-average landlord.
Yung took in all the slobbish behavior without a lack of concern. With respect to the grime-covered oven, he stated his oven at home was in a similar state. Applying Murphy's law there must be someone out there who has got food poisoning from eating food from Yung's fish and chip shop. Further information would be welcomed.
This brings us to the question as to why Yung would subject me to this nightmare. He knew all about the threats (and obviously he knew all about the assaulys) but he defended the thug to the hilt on the questions of the threatening behavior, slobbish behavior etc. etc.. The police tell me that they have taken proceedings against the thug and are almost implying that he has been sent to prison. All of which brings me to my main suspicion - that Yung and the thug were somehow intertwined in the same criminal activities. Please tell me if you know anything.
When I first moved to Portsmouth 15 years ago, I was living in another of Yung's properties, which was also inhabitated by a thug. As a result of his threats I left - this was a long time ago and I reacted differently to the whole scenario than I would today but the reason at the time for Yung allowing a known thug to reside in his property was fairly clear. This particular thug was inhabiting a small room, a room so minute that no-one else would possibly live in it. When Yung finally got round to throwing the thug out, he was never able to find another tenant for the 'room', apart from a Greek student who left about a week later (resulting in Yung pursuing him through the courts).
The only hint of a mercenary reason for the more recent situation was when Yung stated he was paying a rent of 15 pounds above the market value.
I have to mention this in passing - it just strikes me that Yung is the type of grasping landlord that might put his residents at risk because of poor maintenance of heating systems. There was actually a problem insofar as the hot water kept turning off, so there was aproblem with the gas installation which the landlord was extremely reluctant to sort out. The thing is that it was 'easy' to live with - you just had to turn the hot water off carefully to stop the pilot light going out. Unfortunately the thug could never get the grasp of this, and furthermore he could never learn the very simple procedure of relighting the pilot light. After a while, finding the hot water was always switched off really began to get you down.
When I moved in, it became very unpleasant during the winter months by virtue of the draft. Most obviously, a sash window in the kitchen was stuck, at an angle, leaving a gap of at least 2 centimeters at one end. Yung's response was to hand me some masking tape, which I was to apply to the gap myself apparently. (It was also about this time, that Mastermind thought it would be a good idea to keep leaving the front door open - that well known method for reducing drafts)
The concept of an extractor fan was given short shrift (see comments elsewhere about cooking).