Stalkers leave mother fearing for her life

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POLICE RESPONSE

Invited to respond to Mrs X's concerns, a police spokesman said: “Tackling criminal gangs is the number one priority for The Bermuda Police Service. The daily challenges faced by Mrs X are symptomatic of the consequences created by gang lifestyle.
“While we clearly cannot comment on this individual lady's plight, as she has chosen to remain anonymous, it appears that the criminal activities of her son over many years have had a life changing impact, not only on him, but his whole family.
“The Bermuda Police Service works closely with all victims of crime, and will deal with each incident on a case-by-case basis, dependent on the severity of the circumstances. We always encourage victims, and indeed witnesses to come forward and talk to officers in an attempt to resolve their concerns.
“It is also incumbent on the community to stand together and support each other when faced with those bent on destabilising our society. The Bermuda Police Service continues to be encouraged by those willing to do that. Without information from our communities we have only part of the picture. The more complete our sight picture is, the better we are able to direct our own activity to those areas with the greatest need, continuing to arrest and convict those who cause the greatest harm.“
Jeff Sousa, who is running for election as the One Bermuda Alliance candidate in Mrs X's constituency said: “The situation with this family and many others deeply concerns me.
“I have met with [Mrs X] on
“I have met with [Mrs X] on numerous occasions to listen to her concerns and give advice. The rise of gang violence in Bermuda is complex society-wide problem. There is no quick or easy answer.
“Our first priority is to stop the shootings, stop the killings. The One Bermuda Alliance will fully fund crime reduction strategies such as Operation Ceasefire. Long term, we will bring to bear a stronger, more concerted effort to diminish the conditions that feed and perpetuate gang life.”
Former Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith, who was a Progressive Labour Party Senator until Parliament was dissolved earlier this month, said: “The stress that some families are under, is enormous, particularly when faced with these and similar circumstances.
“I am immensely sympathetic to this situation and during my period as a Senator for the past year and a half, I have offered and provided very specific advice to families in regards to gun and gang crime.”
However, he said, he prefers to offer advice face to face rather than via the media.

A frightened mother has spoken of her fears that gang hitmen have her in their sights because of her son's fights with men from other parts of the Island.

Mrs X, who is in her 50s and lives in Warwick, said black-clad figures have been riding right into her yard in broad daylight, leaving her scared to go out.

While the police have answered her calls for help, she fears that her life, and that of her son who no longer lives with her are in danger.

“The deadly thing is I don't know who it is,” she said. “They are stalking my house and I don't know who it is.

Mrs X came forward to tell her story to this newspaper on condition of anonymity because she said: “I would like people to be more vigilant that these things are happening”.

She estimates that she has called the police ten times in as many years. They have taken reports about what happened, but still the intimidation continues.

She explained that her son, who is in his late 20s and has a family of his own, started to go astray when he was a 14-year-old CedarBridge Academy student and got embroiled in fights with people from other parts of the island.

“He got kicked out of school with no direction or funds,” she recalled. “They fought and he was always up there in front not with a weapon, but with his hands.”

Her son then fell into more serious disputes with other men and ended up coming before the courts multiple times on charges including assault causing grievous bodily harm and seriously assaulting a police officer. He's also landed in trouble for traffic offences, carrying a knife, and drinking in public.

Mrs X is now convinced that her son's life and members of family are in danger from rival factions.

She denies he is a member of a gang, but admits he has associates in gangs although she prefers not to use that label.

“He's not in a gang they are people that he associates with and care for him and help him out. He's the man in the middle and he's surrounded by enemies.

“He can't live with me because they are watching my house,” she said.

She believes she has been followed during a visit to Somerset, and has been warned of men on motorcycles lurking around her house after they were spotted by neighbours. The most frightening incident to date happened on the morning of Sunday, November 4.

“I was in my bedroom and I was aware of others outside. I'm always listening to what's going on outside. I was getting ready to go to a birthday party and I noticed guys coming across on bikes. They kept looking up at my house. It carried on all day until about 2.30pm. I was thinking 'who are these guys coming in my yard on a bike and they are all dressed in black'. I knew something was wrong. They were probably looking for my son. This is the first time I really realised what was going on.”

Her three children, granddaughter and nephew were all at home at the time.

“They could well have been targeted,” she said. “The men on bikes drove off. My neighbour, who's an ex-policeman, told me he'd seen them too. It's your family, and believe me when I say your family could be a target. It could be a momma. It could be anybody. I don't go anywhere any more. I'm a very homely person and I prefer to be in my garden listening to opera.”

The mother said she has informed police of each incident, and they have listened to her concerns and stepped up patrols but she still feels afraid. She doesn't feel able to confide in other members of her family about what she is going through due to “shame and embarrassment”.

Mrs X said she has not made any formal report to the police that she thinks her son's life is at risk, because she is convinced they are already well aware of the fact and because she does not know who is after him.

“I don't have to say anything, because they know,” she insisted. “They have known him for years because he had fights. He may not have done good things but he's a good person. He's stolen things from people, he's done bad things, but you don't have to come to somebody's house to look for him. He used to come to my house but he doesn't any more. I'm really tired of these guys. How am I supposed to protect myself and my grandchildren?”

Ÿ Just hours after the frightened mother spoke to this this newspaper yesterday, two young men were shot in Warwick. The attack was not upon her family.

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Published Nov 21, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 21, 2012 at 12:26 am)

Stalkers leave mother fearing for her life

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