‘Family from hell’ made homeless after 300 anti-social incidents, 12 injunctions, three prison sentences and two evictions demand new house from council
A family from hell made homeless after 300 anti-social incidents, 12 evictions, three prison sentences and two evictions have demanded a new property from the council.
The notorious Birch clan got a joint ASBO after subjecting neighbours to seven years of fighting, shouting and swearing.
They were evicted from their first home – only to be kicked out of their next less than a year later after complaints about yet more disorder.
The family – dad Michael, 69, partner Jane Beard, 52, and daughters Trudie, 28, and Ellen, 22, – are now homeless and living in an abandoned building.
But despite their appalling history the shameless family are pleading for once last chance to change – and begging for another council-funded home.
Jane said: ”I’ve never hurt nobody and I’m really sorry it got to this stage.
”I would really like another chance to correct it all.”
Trudie added: “‘I want the council to ﬁnd a warm place to live.”
The troublesome family moved into a housing association home in Podsmead, Gloucester in 2008 where they terrorised neighbours.
They were given a joint ASBI – an anti social behaviour injunction – in January 2015 after being accused of window smashing, keeping problem pets, foul language and fighting.
Boyfriends, Robert Edward, 26, and Jonathan Ward, 25, were also banned from the council flat.
It was the first time the rare injunction – like an ASBO aimed at housing tenants – had been issued in the UK for five years.
The Birchs accused their neighbours of being ‘petty’ but they were evicted later last year after their appalling behaviour continued.
The family – who at one point owned three snakes, five bearded dragons, six cats, a budgie and some goldfish – moved to a home two miles away nearer the city centre.
But their behaviour apparently continued and they were given interim ASBIs in October 2015 to protect their new neighbours from shouting and rude gestures.
Two months later they were turfed out of their second home and last week Michael and his daughters were found guilty in their absence of breaching the interim orders.
The trio also had their orders extended to cover the entire city, and will be sentenced for the breaches next month.
Jane said: “We were at court because we were accused of shouting, loud music, slamming doors and having the TV loud, and the boys ﬁghting all the time.
“The antisocial behaviour has only ever been between ourselves.”
All three have previously served jail sentences for their behaviour, while Jane has been given a suspended prison sentence.
For the first time an immediate power of arrest was also attached to the order, which bans them from shouting, causing a nuisance or making rude gestures.
The latest ruling, granted by Gloucester County Court is the latest in a string of actions taken against the family, which also included 12 injunctions.
At the hearing on Thursday, Victoria Fennell, of Gloucester City Homes said the interim order only covered their previous home, which they were forced out of on December 8.
She said: “There have been threats of violence and an instance of the next door neighbour’s property being broken into.
“They are causing chaos across the city.”
She said a garage which the family had been offered to live in had been set on ﬁre and Jane had been refusing to leave Michael’s side after a recent stay in hospital.
The court also heard their abuse by some family members had continued despite them being homeless.
Charlotte Newman from Gloucester City Homes added: “The situation has escalated since eviction.
“They are coming to the attention of various members of the public due to having no ﬁxed abode.
“They are becoming a massive problem across the city.
Miss Newman said several homeless charities had made complaints about the behaviour of family members at soup kitchens and lunch clubs.
“At one lunch club Mr Birch threatened to snap the leg of a homeless man’s dog,” she said.
Judge David Hebblethwaite said the extended order was needed to protect the public and added: “It is in the interests of the citizens of Gloucester.
“Anyone could be affected by their ongoing behaviour.”
The family and their pet Staffordshire bull terrier Jacko are now living in an empty building in Gloucester city centre, but have been told by police they need to move on.
Trudie begged the council to help her parents, who are both in wheelchairs.
She said: ”I need to have somewhere to look after my mum and dad properly.
“My dad’s been in hospital and it was touch and go with him one night.
“We had to get him to the bus station to ﬁnd a phone to get an ambulance for him.
“He has double pneumonia and is on 28 tablets a day.”
The three will be sentenced for breaching the previous interim order on February 3.
The family will be back in court to on February 10 to contest the original terms of the injunction.
City wide anti-social behaviour service Project Solace said there have been more than 300 incidents of antisocial behaviour committed by the family.
Co-ordinator Phil Connor said their abuse included burgling a neighbour’s home after they were evicted from their second house.
He said: “During this time they have been offered help, support and housing by many agencies but have refused to engage with any of them.
“We hope this latest action will convince the family to ac- cess help and end their anti- social behaviour.
“Our main aim is to help ensure the safety of the citizens and visitors to our city.
“We will not hesitate to take further legal action if required.”