Page last updated at 18:41 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Two youths guilty of harassment in family deaths street

Carol Sainsbury
The court heard Carol Sainsbury was subjected to loud music and swearing

Two youths have been found guilty of harassing a resident in the same street where a mother was driven to suicide because of years of abuse from yobs.

The boys, 16 and 17, were convicted of making obscene gestures at Carol Sainsbury in Barwell, Leicestershire.

In a separate case, charges against another teenager accused of harassment on the same street were dropped after the main witness collapsed.

Ms Sainsbury's neighbour, Fiona Pilkington, killed herself in 2007.

Ms Pilkington, 38, set her car ablaze in a lay-by in October of that year while she and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, were sitting inside.

A third defendant in the Sainsbury case, Billy-Joe Kenney, 19, of Elwell Avenue, Barwell, was cleared at Hinckley Magistrates' Court.

'Entirely inconsiderate'

An inquest into their deaths in September 2009 heard the family, including Ms Pilkington's severely dyslexic son Anthony, suffered more than 10 years of abuse from a gang of teenagers in Bardon Road, Barwell.

The 17-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court that although he had "hung around" near Ms Sainsbury's house, he had never wanted to distress her.

Fiona Pilkington and daughter Francecca
Fiona Pilkington and her daughter Francecca died in a car fire

Under questioning from his solicitor, the youth added that it had never been his intention to upset Ms Sainsbury or to cause her to feel unhappy.

The youths harassed Ms Sainsbury, 46, in Bardon Road between August and October 2009.

District Judge David Meredith upheld an order preventing the two convicted youths being named.

The youths were released on bail and will be sentenced on 23 February.

In another trial which followed the first, a teenager who branded Ms Hardwick as "Frankenstein" walked free after the main prosecution witness collapsed in court.

The 16-year-old boy allegedly abused parish councillor Hazel Smith after she spoke out about the torment faced by Ms Hardwick and her mother from a gang of yobs.

In September a coroner severely criticised police and council officials for failing to help Ms Pilkington and her family in the years before their deaths.

'Shooting at pets'

Hinckley Youth Court heard that following the inquest, the boy confronted 48-year-old Mrs Smith, a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator in Barwell, as she walked to her job as a lollipop lady.

He branded her a "grass" and claimed Ms Pilkington and her daughter were "freaks" who "deserved" the abuse they received, the court heard.

The boy was one of many who had been part of the gang which taunted the family over a number of years.

Mrs Smith said the boy had been shooting at her pet guinea pigs one evening and had verbally abused her another time, calling her a "copper's nark".

As Mrs Smith was giving evidence, she appeared to collapse in a fit and paramedics had to be called.

District Judge David Meredith said he was unhappy about the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to abort the trial.


Cleared teenager Billy-Joe Kenney and his father Harry Kenney welcomed his acquital

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