Masked gang leave family living in fear during four-year reign of terror on council estate

A masked gang outside the family's Netherley home
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool Echo)

A family are living in fear after a balaclava wearing youth gang attacked their home and racially abused them.

Fatmata and Umair Habib, who live with their five children, said they have been terrorised by the thugs for the last four years.

They claim the masked youths loiter threateningly outside, throw rubbish over their driveway and target their windows with rocks and eggs. Speaking about the stressful situation, Mrs Habib, 35, said that their 13-year-old son, who has autism and is asthmatic, has also been repeatedly attacked on his way home from school in Netherley, Liverpool

The mum-of-five said: "The abuse has been ongoing for over four years. When we moved here everything was okay, we have lovely neighbours. We are the type of people who mind our own business. We both work full time at Aintree Hospital. But the children started pushing over our bins and throwing rubbish over the front drive.

"They throw rocks or eggs at our windows and doors every single day. We hear the boom when we are inside. We brought a camera to cover the front of the house. We have called the police who told us they need evidence, but we have shown them the footage but nothing is done. For them it's like watching a movie, but this is our reality."

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said multi-agency meetings are ongoing with the family, while Riverside added its dedicated housing team would be conducting a review of the family's situation. However, Mrs Habib claimed both are not doing enough to ensure the family are safe in their own home.

Mrs Habib, who is of African descent while her husband is from Pakistan, claimed the family have been repeatedly racially abused in the street. She added her oldest son has also been attacked when walking home from after-school club. She claimed he has been "spat on and choked until he couldn't breathe".

Cops confirmed they received a report in January this year regarding the assault. Mrs Habib said her son took a photo of his attackers but nothing has been done.

Mrs Habib has taken three months off sick due to the stress of the situation. She said: "I can't think, I can't sleep. I'm so scared thinking what will happen. "

A spokesperson for Riverside said: "We are truly sorry to hear of the Habib family’s distress following reports of harassment in their community. At Riverside, we have a zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory language or actions that could cause a hostile environment, and do not tolerate behaviour that prevents our customers from feeling secure in their neighbourhood.

"We want to reassure the family that we are continuing to take their concerns seriously and are doing everything we can to support them, including working closely with the local police overseeing their case and liaising with other agencies involved. Our dedicated housing team have also been conducting a review of the family’s situation, and we will be in touch to arrange a home visit to discuss further ways we can assist them.

"We understand that unfortunately the police are yet to have identified those involved in the incidents reported by the Habib family, but we will continue to support their investigations where possible and act accordingly on their findings. Our team are available for anyone experiencing concerns relating to anti-social behaviour, but we ask that you call 999 in the event of an emergency or to report incidents of hate crime."

Merseyside Police Detective Inspector Jemma Berry said: "We have studied CCTV footage, spoken to witnesses and carried out extensive enquiries to identify the offenders. We continue to work with the family and made a referral to the Anthony Walker Foundation to provide them with support.

"Our specialist hate crime coordinator is also in regular contact with the family, and multi-agency meetings are regularly held to discuss further support for the family, and this work is ongoing. In Merseyside, we believe that everyone should be able to live their lives without fear of being subjected to verbal or physical abuse.

"We are committed to tackling hate in our communities and would strongly encourage all victims to come forward and report such incidents. Where we identify a crime, we take firm action and offer the support of partner agencies to ensure the person reporting gets the assistance they need to feel safe."

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