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Witham residents fear trouble as Asbo man is released

By Braintree Chronicle  |  Posted: July 02, 2012


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FED-UP residents on a Witham street are preparing themselves for trouble as a rowdy ex-neighbour gets ready to be released from prison.

Paul Beckett has terrorised his ex-wife and residents of Rosebay Close by shouting abuse at them, ripping up their fences and scaring their children with his drunken behaviour.

But despite the 47-year-old receiving a second antisocial behaviour order banning him from entering the close or nearby streets, the community fear he is going to continue making their lives a misery.

Gill Beckett, 57, a support worker who divorced Paul in 2011, said: "It's excellent he's been given the Asbo but I don't think it's going to keep him away as it hasn't in the past.

"Things seemed to go down hill in 2008 when he gave up his job as a forklift truck driver. He expected me to keep him and he started drinking, which is when the trouble started.

"He's broken in twice, smashing the French doors and breaking televisions – he's caused hundreds-of-pounds of damage. I've thought about moving away but I don't want to give up the job I love and move away from family and friends, I just have to brave it.

"I definitely feel better when he's in prison though."

Alan Currie, 38, who lives next door to Beckett's former home, said: "He's made life utterly hell for a lot of people on the street.

"He has verbally abused my wife and she still feels so scared of him. She's worried about going outside when he's released from prison.

"That just makes me feel sick.

"We witnessed him smashing up one of our neighbour's fences and so contacted the police. Ever since then he's just taken against us and really made life hard."

Father-of-two Mr Currie has even thought of leaving the district due to Beckett's actions.

He said: "I would move my family out of Witham if I could.

"I hope to never see him again.

"He's breached his Asbos before and unfortunately I don't think he's going to stick to it.

"In some respects the orders have been successful because minor incidents have led him to being arrested and the local police have been fantastic. But he still comes round causing trouble.

"The whole street rallies round though which he doesn't like. He tried to divide the street but we all protect each other."

Mr Currie's wife, Martha, is so traumatised by the behaviour of Beckett she doesn't like being in her back garden alone, and has moved her plants to the front garden where she feels safer.

She said: "He would watch me when I was in the garden and I still don't like being out there.

"I don't even like hearing his name.

"My daughter is really scared of men because of him. It took her so long to get used to her male PE teacher because of his behaviour."

Beckett was jailed last year for breaching a previous Asbo and is set to be released from prison on July 2.

Pauline Cable, 58, who lives on the other side of Beckett's former home with husband 63-year-old David, said: "We've lived on the close for 36 years and there had never been any trouble until he moved in.

"He just seemed to take an instant dislike and we never got on.

"He would verbally abuse us and was just so unpleasant.

"I'm not scared of him but knowing he's out of prison will definitely make everyone a little bit on edge.

"We're just waiting for him to do something else.

"I moved in at the same time as his ex-wife Gill and she has had such a hard time.

"He completely trashed her house and seems to be like a bad penny – he just keeps coming back."

Beckett was slapped with the Asbo at Chelmsford Magistrates Court last week. As well as the ban on going to his ex-wife's road, and the surrounding streets, he is also forbidden from using threatening or abusive language and from being drunk in public.

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