Home­owner forced out

The West Australian - - NEWS - Rourke Walsh and Gabrielle Knowles

Pic­tures: Ian Munro El­len­brook res­i­dents say a nineyear-old boy who has been ter­ror­is­ing fam­i­lies in the area is not the only youth run­ning amok in the sub­urb, with up to a dozen chil­dren liv­ing at two homes also re­spon­si­ble for al­leged van­dal­ism, bur­glar­ies and death threats.

Amanda, who did not want her last name used, told The Week­end West she had been forced to move out of the Stan­bury Cres­cent house she built in 2013 be­cause of con­tin­ued at­tacks from chil­dren as young as three.

She said her house had been re­peat­edly pelted with stones, had plants and lights from her front yard dam­aged and stolen and re­ceived late-night knocks on the door. In one in­stance, she filmed a group of youths bran­dish­ing large kitchen knives as they jumped over her side fence.

“It is a big night­mare,” Amanda said. “I have had to move into a rental and I can’t ac­tu­ally live in my own house. I don’t see my­self go­ing back there any­time soon un­less some­thing is done.

“There are quite a few kids, but at dif­fer­ent times you see dif­fer­ent ones. I feel like I am be­ing tar­geted.

“Ob­vi­ously when I catch them I tell them off and they just curse at me and laugh. These kids are not scared at all.”

Amanda said the tip­ping point for mov­ing out was last month’s knife in­ci­dent dur­ing which she was threat­ened by a teenager who she con­fronted.

“It was just a quick ‘I am go­ing to kill you’, and then they laughed,” she said.

“I filmed them hold­ing knives. “It started with them rip­ping at my bam­boo fence at the front.

“I opened the front door and they ran down the side.

“I grabbed my phone and started film­ing and then saw them jump on a fence hold­ing knives.

“I stopped film­ing and then they said they were go­ing to kill me.

“It was scary and I got to the point where I didn’t feel safe.

“I’d start hear­ing noises and I couldn’t sleep be­cause I would think some­one was break­ing it.”

Amanda’s tor­ment, at the hands of up to a dozen youth, fol­lows re­ports this week of a nine-yearold boy ter­ror­is­ing res­i­dents on an­other El­len­brook street.

Two po­lice of­fi­cers spent hours stand­ing guard out­side the boy’s El­len­brook home on Tues­day night af­ter he al­legedly went on a ram­page, threat­en­ing nearby res­i­dents and his grand­mother.

A neigh­bour of the boy said he climbed on the roof of her home about 7.30pm and started throw­ing tiles, smash­ing her car wind­screen.

The boy is too young to face charges over crimes but Com­mis­sioner Chris Daw­son said po­lice were work­ing closely with other agen­cies and the fam­ily to try to help the boy and stop the of­fences.

Amanda said she had re­ported the dam­age and threats to po­lice and the Depart­ment of Hous­ing but was told, with­out proof, there was noth­ing they could do.

El­len­brook res­i­dent Tayla, who did not want her last name used, said a gang of teenagers had ran­sacked her mother’s house while she was away at work last month.

She said the group had smashed a front win­dow and spent about two hours in­side the prop­erty be­fore mak­ing off with elec­tri­cal items, an iPad and jew­ellery.

“They smashed the front win­dow and just let them­selves in,” she said. “They have no fear.

“I’ve heard of four or five other in­ci­dents where these kids have just been run­ning riot, tak­ing peo­ple’s things, van­dal­is­ing or threat­en­ing.

“They ob­vi­ously don’t have a good life at home for them to be go­ing around and do that sort of stuff.”

Swan Hills MLA Jes­sica Shaw said she was aware of the is­sues and was work­ing with the State Gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment more ser­vices to en­gage youth in the area and keep them out of trou­ble.

“Pub­lic safety is an is­sue peo­ple are con­cerned about and hav­ing things for our kids to do is so im­por­tant,” she said.

“What peo­ple need to ap­pre­ci­ate is that be­tween 2006 and 2016 El­len­brook’s pop­u­la­tion went from 14,000 to 40,000 and 32 per cent of peo­ple in that sub­urb are aged un­der 32 years.

“Ba­si­cally there were no ser­vices for chil­dren that came with that growth. It came up a lot dur­ing the elec­tion that there were a lot of kids out there with noth­ing to do and nowhere to go.”

Ms Shaw said she was com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing a youth cen­tre.

“This is­sue of ‘idle hands do the devil’s work’ came up over and over dur­ing the elec­tion,” she said. “So we com­mit­ted $1.86 mil­lion to a youth cen­tre.”

Amanda no longer lives in her own home.

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