Woman driven to brink of suicide by nine year anti-social behaviour nightmare
21st July 2021
This week (19 July to 23 July) is the first ever Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Awareness Week, a national campaign to highlight the impact of ASB on local communities. The Three Rivers Community Safety Partnership works together to prevent and reduce anti-social behaviour. The Partnership recently helped one woman who had been driven to the brink of suicide as a result of constant loud noise and suspected drug use. This is her story.
It was the dead of night, nine years ago, when Jennifer (not her real name) was woken up by the sound of banging on what she thought was her own front door. Leaping out of bed she soon realised it was actually a door further down the street which was being violently kicked. “That’s how they used to let them know they were there – it was their code. Something to do with their drug dealing,” she explained.
The banging heralded nearly a decade of anti-social behaviour at the property which drove Jennifer, who lives in Rickmansworth, to the brink of suicide.
Today she can enjoy the summer sunshine in her garden for the first time in years, thanks to the intervention of the Three Rivers’ Community Safety Partnership. A closure order has been placed on the problem household by magistrates after multiple complaints and, according to Jennifer, it has not just changed her life—the council’s intervention has saved it.
She said: “It all started with those visits at night—day and night, the smell of drugs and even seeing them handing over the drugs. Then it went to loud music in the garden—my whole house and the windows shook, night and day at all hours.”
Jennifer’s nightmare deepened as the years went by, with aggressive disturbances and loud arguing. She would even be harassed in the street as she made her way home.
“I felt like a prisoner in my own home. I couldn’t sit out in the garden. The music was so loud I couldn’t hear my own television over the noise. I was near breaking point, I have never been on antidepressants in my life but I had no choice but to go to the doctor.
“My children tell me I am not the same, but living like this, no one could be the same. It has been an utter nightmare for nine years. It came to a breaking point and I felt suicidal over it.”
Eventually Jennifer got in touch with the Three Rivers’ Community Safety Partnership and reported the anti-social behaviour which had become a living nightmare. The problem household had also been the subject of multiple complaints from other members of the public who had reported suspected drug use, dealing and noise disturbance, as well as people frequently visiting and arguing.
“If it wasn’t for them [the Community Safety Partnership] I would be six feet under. They worked so quickly and they saved my life—that is how I feel. It’s lovely now. I can actually sit out in my garden and hear the birds singing, and relax.”
The closure order means no visitors are allowed to enter the property for three months, except emergency services or maintenance contractors with prior permission. Anyone who breaches the order could now face a hefty fine and/or jail sentence.
After her ordeal, Jennifer is sharing her story to inspire others to take action over any anti-social behaviour they may be experiencing in their own neighbourhoods.
Cllr Sarah Nelmes, the Leader of Three River District Council said: “This story is shocking, but sadly we know it is not an isolated case. Many people suffer the ordeal of anti-social behaviour and it can be a very real nightmare. It is heart wrenching to know that some people are driven to suicidal thoughts in these circumstances.
“As with this case, we are here to help and support people affected by anti-social behaviour with our partners in the Community Safety Partnership and I urge anyone who wants to report any such behaviour to get in touch and help us stamp it out for good.”
Anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour can report it to Three Rivers District Council on 01923 776611, call the non-emergency number 101, of, if a crime or anti-social behaviour is in progress, call 999.
For more information visit: https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/community-safety