Driven to His Grave by Years of Bullying; Coroner's Verdict on Heart Victim Tormented by Youths
Byline: James Tozer
A VULNERABLE man of 64 who collapsed and died after three decades of harassment by yobs was unlawfully killed, a coroner ruled yesterday.
David Askew, who had learning difficulties, had a fatal heart attack after confronting some of the local youths who had subjected him to years of mockery and vandalism.
No one has ever been prosecuted over his death, but yesterday coroner John Pollard said he had no doubt Mr Askew had been unlawfully killed. He said the case showed how 'feral youths can bring misery to a decent and vulnerable family'.
Mr Pollard also criticised 'staggering inertia and complacency' at the local council.
Mr Askew had been bullied by three generations of youths on an estate in the Hattersley area of Greater Manchester. He was pestered for money and cigarettes and on one occasion the yobs kicked in the family's front door. Mocked as Dopey Dave, he had eggs and stones thrown at him when he went out. Windows of the family home were smashed.
During one two-month period he went to the offices of Tameside Council every day to complain while his mother called police 88 times.
The inquest heard the council's neighbourhood manager Mark Tunstall, who was in charge of community safety, was 'out of his depth' and never visited the family, even though his office was just 400 yards away.
Neighbourhood police visited regularly, the inquest heard, but senior officers felt Mr Askew was 'part of the problem' for giving the youths cigarettes in the hope they would leave.
Mr Askew died in March last year after confronting youths outside the house over an overturned wheelie bin and over tampering with his mother Rose's mobility scooter
In September last year Kial Cottingham, 19, who lived just doors away, pleaded guilty to harassing Mr Askew and was locked up for 16 months. …