Broken bolt leaves Hackney Council hostel burglary victim fearing for life a month after break-in
PUBLISHED: 16:23 19 December 2018
The door lock to a domestic violence victim’s hostel room has been left broken for nearly a month after burglars smashed through it.
The 36-year-old mother of a baby and toddler flagged up safety concerns about the flimsy garden door and the fact it had no blinds when she moved into the council-run hostel garden flat in south Hackney on November 19.
But nothing was done and her worst fears came true a week later when thieves smashed the door’s glass panes and reached inside to open the locks.
Her possessions were ransacked, her mobile phone and a tablet were stolen and a knife left behind. Burglars reached the main hostel through her room, and three other families’ rooms were also raided.
Four weeks on and with the bolt remaining broken, she’s concerned for her family’s safety as well as her own mental health having already been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and OCD.
The woman who used to work at Tesco’s head office told the Gazette: “No security measures have been put in place and the broken door hasn’t been fixed - if this isn’t an urgent security measure I don’t know what is. “There are no alarm systems. No cameras. My door is just one kick away from being open again.
“If the room was safe it wouldn’t have been broken into in the first place, and now it’s even more vulnerable,” she added.
“Because there are no blinds people can see in during the night and day and that’s how they saw there was no one in the room. It’s really scary with every little noise and I can’t sleep.
“I feel like I’m screaming inside and not being heard.”
A council spokesperson alleges the tenant had “not provided access” for the door to be permanently repaired or replaced, or for any security assessment to be carried out.
However she claims even if she wanted to refuse access, under the terms of her tenancy she couldn’t.
She did however express concern when a workman was sent to replace the broken glass without fixing the lock, and they both agreed it would be safer to leave the MDF board in place until the entire job could be done.
A council spokesperson added: “We are pleased to say that a visit for this assessment to take place has now been agreed, and we are keen to ensure that the accommodation is now made permanently secure without compromising fire safety.
“Hostel accommodation is never ideal but, with Hackney facing a severe housing crisis, is often the only way of allowing families to stay in the borough while we find them a permanent place to call home.