May 2015 was a weird month. The old couple who had moved into the house across the road, were rude and extremely unfriendly. In fact, I had only seen them exchange pleasant conversation with my other new neighbour at number 1. It was almost like they already knew each other.
The whole situation was weird.
The house next door to us was as large as ours, 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It seemed oversized for just 2 middle aged people, and being rented at £100 a month more than mine, it didn't make sense. 2 people rattling round that big house, one apparently not working, forking out so much in rent? Just seemed unusual, like a big waste of money. But each to their own.
The house across the road from us was smaller, 3 bedrooms. Again seemed very large for an elderly couple, but as the house was bought it seemed more of an investment. I checked online some time later to discover the house had been bought for £60,000 less than its value. Somebody got a bargain.
Easington is a tiny village, population less than 1000, and the crime rate was pretty much zero. The fact the area was patrolled every few minutes by police jeeps with armed officers on board probably helped keep the crime non-existent. My incidents of vandalism had been the talk of the village for some time, and while I kept contemplating putting up CCTV, I was still, at this stage, confident things would just settle down eventually.
Then I noticed the house across the road had installed 2 CCTV cameras, with both pointing directly outward, towards my house and driveway! I was now literally being watched, and recorded, by CCTV.
I didn't like this, at all. The camera positioned next to their front door was pointed straight at my front door! I was on camera whichever way I exited my house. This couldn't be legal, could it?
Shortly after the cameras across the road were installed, a number of thick black nails were thrown onto my driveway and under my car. They were dotted everywhere. Extremely sharp, I worried about K, who was often barefoot due to his autism. Who keeps doing this? Me and the boys picked up all the nails, and from then on, we started each journey by carefully scanning the drive and under the car before we got in it.
Little did I know at the time, but someone had started raising concerns about me and my parenting, and my supposedly poor mental health. And not just to one organisation. Reports were made to social services, the police, environmental health, even my letting agent Lime Properties. Constant reports eventually led to us having tenancy inspections every 3 months, although no issues, apart from later, when there was some staining on the white carpets, was ever discovered. The set up had began.
In June 2015, while we were still carefully checking our driveway every single journey, I received a handwritten letter. It appeared quite childish, the address wasn't complete or in the correct format, and the grammar and punctuation of the letter suggested an immature scribe. The contents of the letter, while disturbing, were not particularly threatening. Apparently my cats had dug up someone's plants and were 'shitting' in their garden. The letter spoke of giving me the shit back and billing me for the plants, but it was signed with a scribble and I put it down to kids. This definitely had to be kids, and poorly educated ones at that. But the letter was weirdly disturbing, and I couldn't stop wondering who had sent it...
Meanwhile, unknown to me at the time, the anonymous reports continued. Social services stepped up their pressure with demands for an assessment but I refused. This was an obvious set up, and I wasn't consenting to this charade again. They'd literally MADE UP the last load of reports, why would I even engage in their nonsense. Nobody seemed interested in looking into my reports of vandalism, vehicle damage, nails or disturbing mail, so I wasn't interested in anything they had to say. I'd done nothing wrong.
Later that month, my nieces came to visit. They were aware of our issues, so after checking around the car, we set off to grab some things from the shops in Withernsea. I was gone barely 45 minutes, and as I drove onto my driveway I heard crunching. I got out of the car, to see the driveway and the surrounding area absolutely covered in the same, inch long thick nails as were dotted all over a few weeks before. But this time, there was loads. They were absolutely everywhere, all over my driveway, across the pavement next to my drive, as far out as the middle of the road, and they were obviously thrown around in the short time we were out at the shops. I stood no chance of avoiding them.
We'd been checking the drive before every journey, but we'd never needed to when returning. And we'd only been gone 45 minutes. Whoever was doing this, was obviously watching my every move.
I'd had enough now. I'd started taking pictures of these incidents a while back, and now I had proof of ongoing harassment. And illegal surveillance. I rang Humberside police and made an appointment. I went along with my nieces, and we were ushered into a dark side room opposite the reception in Bransholme police station. An officer, apparently totally disinterested, scribbled a few notes on a scrap of paper, and promised to 'look into things'. I explained that my neighbour across the road at number 8, had CCTV pointing directly at my house and driveway, and they could ask him for the footage, and find out who had thrown these nails.
But as usual when you're being set up, nobody looked into anything, and nothing was done. It was all part of the gaslighting that had now begun.
Those CCTV cameras were not for our protection, that was for sure...
In July 2015, unable to bully me into compliance, Kerry Windas called an Initial Child Protection Conference, on the grounds of multiple 'anonymous' concerns that had suddenly started being reported. Treating the whole thing like the sick joke it had become, I trounced into the conference with a stack of my qualifications certificates and positive reports, personal references, and point blank refused to engage with any aspect of child protection; citing the made up reports by unknown professionals in the previous conference, that I had already been assessed as being a good parent several times now and I would not consent to any more intrusive assessments which would never lead to any kind of support which they always claim it will, as these assessments are purely based on risk of harm. My kids were not at any risk of any harm from me, and if they wanted to actually HELP US, then we would need assessing by the disabilities team, not child protection.
I folded my arms and glared at Kerry Windas. How dare you. Who the hell even are you? My psycho face kicked in.
The conference chair, Vaughan Armstrong, warned me about my aggressive behaviour but I didn't care. I'd take you all on right now, how dare you, bunch of ill-informed nobodies judge me. I was furious.
And then Vaughan stunned the psycho out of me. He agreed with me.
He said we did indeed need an assessment through the disabilities team. I was right.
He asked if I would be willing to engage with the disabilities team in order to complete a needs assessment on the boys. I reluctantly agreed.
So the conference was concluded, the threshold for protection having not been reached, referrals were made for the disabilities team to assess the boys needs.
Following the conference, East Riding of Yorkshire disabilities team, refused the referrals. They had no intention of offering any support. The set up continued...