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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Widow criticises police reaction
Terry Barrett collapsed and died after confronting youths
The widow of a man who died after his house was targeted by youths says his death could have been avoided if police had reacted earlier.

Police were called to Alamein Road, Saltash, Cornwall, after eggs were thrown at the front door on several occasions early on Saturday morning.

Father-of-five Terry Barrett, 56, later died in hospital after collapsing at his home.

Police defended their actions saying they did all they could.

Chased away

Three teenagers were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and affray. Two have been released - a third has been released on police bail.

Mr Barrett chased away the attackers and after the third incident he collapsed.

The first call to police was made at 0040 BST, but Mr Barrett's widow, Jane, said police did not turn up until after a second call at 0110 BST.

She said: "If the police had come out on that first call that may have been enough for the attackers to have gone home and Terry would still be here now.

"But because of the stress that it caused, his blood pressure went sky high."

We should be able to come into our own homes and be safe from fear that someone is going to smash in your door
Jane Barrett
She added: "Since then the police have been brilliant. They were outside our home all night and they are going to fit an alarm."

She said her husband was a "great dad".

"He would not bother anyone and would try to stop any trouble rather than create it.

"We should be able to come into our own homes and be safe from fear that someone is going to smash in your door."

A police spokeswoman said: "Officers did not attend the address after the first call because the family said the offenders had left the area.

"The family were given advice over the phone and were told to call if the offenders came back.

"We attended after the second and third calls."

It is understood there had been a previous incident at Mr Barrett's home some weeks ago which had not been reported.

Mr Barrett's neighbour, 72-year-old Ray Standlick, said vandalism in the street had gradually increased, adding that it looked as though Mr Barrett had been targeted on this occasion.

Cars in the street had been vandalised, with bodywork scratched and wing mirrors broken off, he said.

"There seems to be nothing you can do about it," he added.

He called for police foot patrols, adding that when youths saw a police car, "they just make off and disappear".

See Terry Barrett's widow speak out on his death

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