Yob Abuse Victim 'Was Unlawfully Killed'

A vulnerable man who died after suffering 30 years of torment from "feral youths" was unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

David Askew, 64, had a mental age of 10 and was harassed by gangs of yobs outside his house on a council estate in Hattersley, east Manchester.

John Pollard, coroner for south Manchester, blamed the youths for Mr Askew's torment as he passed the ruling.

His comments came despite lawyers deciding no one could be charged with the victim's death.

Mr Askew lived with his brother, who also had learning difficulties, and mother Rose, 90, who told the inquest into her son's death of the constant abuse from youngsters.

They called police 88 times between January 2004 and March last year before Mr Askew, who suffered from heart disease, collapsed and died on March 10, 2010, after being pestered for cigarettes.

Youngsters had reportedly thrown a wheelie bin around and tampered with his mother's mobility scooter.

Kial Cottingham, 19, who lived doors away later pleaded guilty to harassing Mr Askew and was jailed for 16 months last year.

Lawyers for the Crown Prosecution Service said there was no evidence to charge Cottingham with manslaughter.

Mr Pollard said: "For the last 30 years, there has been harassment of this family,
at times worse than other times.

"Throughout the whole (period) they have lived with anti-social behaviour directed against them in a way and at a level which is, and never was, acceptable."

He said, on the night Mr Askew died, a youth was seen demanding cigarettes from Mr Askew, even patting him down to check if he had any.

Two youths were seen at the property again at 9.38pm and, within eight to 10 minutes, Mr Askew had collapsed and died.

Mr Pollard added he was "aware" of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge anyone with manslaughter, but he was satisfied there was enough evidence to conclude Mr Askew was unlawfully killed.