Abuser of suicide mum is given an Asbo

Author: By Ellen Branagh and Theo Usherwood

In October 2007, the single mother set fire to the family’s car while she and her 18-year-old daughter, known as Frankie, sat inside. Their deaths came after the family were abused by a gang of youths on their street in Barwell, Leicestershire, for more than a decade.

Alex Simmons, 16, whose family was accused of abusing Mrs Pilkington, was one of the four given an Asbo. During the inquest, Simmons’ family were held partly responsible for the abuse the family suffered before 2007.

Shortly after the deaths, his father Steven, 43, and mother Suzanne, 44, were made subject of an injunction which meant they could be arrested if Alex, or his two younger brothers aged 15 and 12, stepped out of line. The couple also have a 20-year-old son, Ross.

As well as Simmons, Anthony Thorne, 17, Josh Thorne, 16, both of Bardon Road, and Billy Kenney, 20, of Elwell Avenue, Barwell, were handed the orders at Hinckley magistrates’ court on Monday.

The orders are in place until the youths return to court for a full hearing on 25 January and ban them from associating with each other in a public place within the borough or at the homes of Alex Simmons or Billy Kenney.

They are also banned from using threatening, abusive or insulting language or behaviour, and from associating with three or more people using threatening, abusive or insulting language or behaviour. A Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council spokesman said Billy Kenney was also forbidden from entering Bardon Road. If they break the orders, imposed under civil proceedings, they could face criminal action and a possible jail sentence.

In September, a coroner holding the inquest into the deaths of Ms Pilkington and Francecca criticised Leicestershire Police and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council for failing to help the struggling mother. The hearing was told Ms Pilkington contacted police 33 times in 10 years after she, Francecca and her son Anthony, now 19, were tormented by a mob of up to 16 youths. Their house was regularly pelted and on one occasion the gang shouted at Francecca, who had the mental age of a four-year-old, to lift her nightdress as she went to bed. Anthony was often beaten up or verbally abused, once being locked in a shed at knifepoint.

Ms Pilkington was driven to such despair that she killed herself and her daughter. Despite the horrific deaths, some of the gang continued to cause problems two years on.

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