Comment du Jour: A tragic suicide….

The Guardian reports on a truly tragic case: “Police errors and inaction were partly responsible for driving a vulnerable single mother to kill herself and her severely disabled daughter after years of abuse from youths, an inquest found today.

Returning a verdict of suicide on Fiona Pilkington, 38, and unlawful killing for her 18-year-old daughter, Francecca, whose bodies were found in a blazing car on a layby in October 2007, the jury decided that the police action “contributed” to the deaths, notably the failure of officers to connect dozens of separate calls for assistance.

The jury heard Pilkington contacted police on no fewer than 33 occasions in seven years in which youths throwing stones and shouting abuse had kept her a virtual prisoner in her home in Barwell, near Hinckley in Leicestershire. Asked how police were responsible, the jury said: “Calls were not linked or prioritised.” Guardian

I felt a sense of rare anger when I read about this some weeks ago and again today. It is all very well setting up investigations, commissions, inquiries to determine what went wrong – but yet again, despite increased resources going into policing in this country, we have a systemic failure which led to what I suspect was a horrible and very lonely death by suicide for Fiona Pilkington and her severely disabled daughter.  I cannot even begin to comprehend what must have been going through that Mother’s mind when she killed herself and her daughter.

These women were bullied by carrion and scum, mindless thugs from an estate in the Midlands – yet the Police did nothing, the parents of these yobs did nothing, the people who lived on the estate, and who must have known what was happening, did nothing.  I find it very difficult to understand how young boys can be so cruel as to hound a woman and her disabled daughter, how people can stand by and pretend it is not happening – but that, sadly, is often the way in Britain.  We prefer not to get involved.  No screaming here, We’re British. British bulldog spirit, support the underdog?  You have to be joking on this one….The British of today in some parts of our country are more likely to support a fucking dancing dog on Britain’s Got Talent than concern themselves with the misery their children and yobs are causing to others.

Two women lived a miserable life in fear for seven years and  died, the Mother unable to take any more,  because of the vile behaviour of scum and the cowardice of others. The Police did nothing – most probably through sheer inefficiency – but it is quite possible that this Police force was more interested in crime clear up rates for minor offences and the revenue generated from speeding tickets. Who knows?  We shall see what the ‘Investigation’ throws up. The report may well be in stock already.

And just to ram the point home…. it appears that no-one was convicted of a crime.  I find this rather shocking.  The scum responsible for hounding this poor woman and her daughter with a mental age of four are still out there – their parents quite  possibly living on benefit at the tax payer’s expense.  Welcome to post modern Britain in part of our sceptred British bulldog spirit isle. The people who did this should be investigated thoroughly, if necessary by another Police force,  and prosecuted to the full extent permitted by law.

IronicallyGordon Brown, at the Labour Conference, wants a crackdown on bad parents. Well… that is a start but, sadly, too late for Fiona Pilkinton and her daughter Francecca.

2 thoughts on “Comment du Jour: A tragic suicide….

  1. Well said Charon, it too makes my blood boil at how we in this country do little or rather say little when we see injustices or bullying behaviour occurring. We blame the police, teachers, government and the system at large, but it us who are guilty.
    We have decided to let the system legislate our behaviour and an intelligent society cannot be legislated into behaving morally. It has to be wedded into our DNA and we have systematically allowed that to dissolve over a number of decades.

    Currently we are politically looking to Norway, Finland and Sweden as good models for education amongst other things to seek a cure, but never look at the cultural and national ethos that underpins it which is the key.
    I get an inside track on Norwegian life and see a completely different approach to bullying and speaking out about injustice in communities, it is morally embedded from birth that all are equal, that collectively they all have to strive to keep this ethos alive for the good of the country. They invest heavily in the next generation, compare what Norway has done with the revenue from oil industry in North Sea compared to UK for instance. They support family life in a multi faceted way through childcare provision and true equality in parental leave and flexible working.

    I could go on, but I won’t. It is going to take decades to ever hope to retrieve that ethos back in the UK and it was once there. To do so is going to take a monumental shift in how each and every citizen engages with society, how do we reverse at least 3 generations of bad parenting and stop people looking away when something bad happens before our eyes.
    When the whole Jade Goody/ Shilpa Shetty row broke on Big Brother, I was mindful not about the specifics or the media explosion, but of how all the participants who witnessed it did nothing, didn’t want to get involved – it was an endemic statement of where we are as a country.

    Recently I witnessed a small gang of 13 year old feral youth trying to intimidate a young Iranian family with a 2 year old in a park, not one other parent stood forward to protect them or stand united with them, I did and though they threatened all manner stood firm, eventually others joined in standing defiant and they ran away. I felt like we had done our civic duty.
    More people need to fly this flag in all walks of life, be it in the street, in the playground or in the office. It will take great commitment and dedication, but it’s a small price to pay in comparison to the other fee that will be levied upon us.

    There’s a great little film called “Good” which illustrates the concept of When Good Men Do Nothing, and it is the core principle in this debate.

  2. Come across your post a bit late Charon, apologies. Back in 2007 I actually cycled past the burning wreck of this car with its attendant police and fire engines the morning after the incident, on my way to work.

    The thing to stress about Barwell is that it is by no means a “bad” estate – there are scores more in Leicestershire more notorious, more deprived, more depressing. It’s a very normal village.

    I think it’s slightly unfair to lay all of this at Brown’s door – as many commentators have pointed out there is no longer a shortage of legal remedies that the police and local authorities can use. ASBOs are rather unfairly derided too, in my opinion, about half of them are never breached – and given they are usually worded so widely as “be prohibited from engaging in conduct which causes or is likely to cause harassment alarm or distress to others or inciting or encouraging others to do so” that’s a very significant reduction in anti-social behaviour.

    The problem seems to be police and council willingness and pro-activity in using these tools in the first place. A lady who lived near me back in 2007 used to ring the council almost every day to complain about the loud children walking past her house on their way home from the school bus. The children are no louder than children ever are when they walk anywhere, and are outside her house for fleeting seconds. She is genuinely upset by it, but her complaints are utterly meritless. Differentiating between her, and someone like Mrs Pilkington, among the hundreds of phone calls per week, is a huge job for any authority – it takes resources.

    I agree with colmmu above, we have to look at why in our society no-one in Mrs Pilkington’s community felt moved to act or intervene.

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