A Greenock family are furious after learning that a family member, badly beaten by a gang of youths, faces a charge of breach of the peace because he bravely fought to defend himself.
The 46 year old victim was confronted by teenage youths as he walked home last Sunday afternoon. The attack followed an altercation with one of the youths the previous day in a shop which resulted in the victim being threatened
On Sunday he was subsequently surrounded by a gang and beaten with a brick and a wooden bat, thought to have been a baseball bat, which resulted in five hours of treatment in Inverclyde Hospital.
It is claimed that the bat used in the attack was obtained from the house of a suspected local drug dealer whom the victim had previously stood up to. The attack only stopped when this same individual alerted the attackers to a police car that had fortuitously appeared nearby.
This is the second time that the 46 year old victim has been attacked by youths from the same gang. Several months ago a similar incident saw him beaten and struck with a broken bottle. That attack was sparked when the victim confronted the same alleged drug dealer over the theft of a bicycle. It also resulted in the victim appearing in court after allegedly seeking retribution on one of his assailants.
There have also been a series of attacks on his home, with one leaving every window broken.
Residents in the Cumberland Road area of Larkfield say that a local drug dealer and known associates have been co-ordinating a campaign of intimidation against local people for years and that the police, politicians and local authority officials have all but ignored repeated calls for help. They argue that youths frequently gather in the homes of these individuals and that neighbours are routinely subjected to threats, verbal abuse and violence.
The cause of much of the mayhem is thought to stem from two families who, despite repeated complaints by other residents, calls to police and raids by drugs officers, have been allowed to remain in their social housing.
The two houses are managed by River Clyde Homes, Scotland’s third largest social landlord. Locals are dismayed at the decision to house the families, who had a history of anti-social behaviour and a string of convictions, in the area.
Locals also claim that drugs are openly sold and that pupils from a nearby school are frequently seen entering the houses during school breaks. Inverclyde Academy was opened only months ago; the secondary school’s gates are yards from the homes alleged to be involved in the selling of drugs, a primary school was opened only weeks ago.
There is real anger amongst many locals that one of the few people with the courage to stand up to the intimidation has now been badly beaten twice and incredibly faces arrest himself.
They say that the attack in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon is an indication of the open defiance of the youths. They also claim that it is indicative of the neglect of the area by local politicians and that many residents now feel that their plight is hopeless; there are fears that someone will be killed if the authorities do not act.
The youths who carried out the attacks are thought to be teenagers. It is believed that nearby security cameras captured the attack, however Newsnet Scotland has been told that police are claiming that footage shows only the victim throwing a punch and that the beating by the gang was not recorded.
Newsnet Scotland has reason to believe that there were many witnesses to the attack but that they may be too afraid to give a statement to police. It is also believed that Greenock police made a number of arrests but released the suspects that same day and they may only face a charge of breach of the peace.
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