Cheltenham burglary victim living in fear after raid
VICTIM Maria Hills says she is being driven out of her Cheltenham home after it was raided by a teenage thug.
The 33-year-old is desperate to move from her bungalow in Wyman’s Brook after it was violently ransacked two days before Christmas.
A 13-year-old was sentenced to a year in an young offenders institute after he was found guilty of killing her pet goldfish, stabbing the TV, slashing suitcases and stealing presents.
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But Maria fears she will still be living in the house long after he is freed if she isn’t found a new place to live by Cheltenham Borough Homes soon.
“It has really been dragged out,” said Maria, who suffers from cerebral palsy. “Obviously I realise it takes some time but I am concerned that it is taking too long. The longer I am here, the longer I am at risk. You would like to think that something like it won’t happen again but you don’t know.”
Following the break-in in December, Maria was told she would be upgraded to a new, wheelchair-friendly home in Cheltenham.
But, four months later, she still hasn’t been relocated and is demanding to be moved as soon as possible.
She said: “Many of the houses in my street have been derelict for a number of years prior to the burglary and I am worried it could happen again. I need someone to recognise the urgency and realise this isn’t a way for me to live.
“I find it debilitating and, as much as I need a new home for my wellbeing, I just want to get away to bring some normality back into my life.
“The break-in has made me angry. I heard that the young lad was laughing about it as if it was a joke. But it isn’t.
“This is my life we’re talking about and, while I am here, I cannot put what he did behind me. With all my other problems, it just adds fuel to the fire.”
Cheltenham Borough Homes, which owns Maria’s current home, said it has identified a property suitable for the changes required including further adaptations.
Paul Stephenson, chief executive at CBH said: “We are working with the family and a number of agencies to complete this work as quickly as possible.
“However, due to the complex adaptations required it is taking longer than usual. We have been in contact with Ms Hills and hope to establish an agreed programme as a matter of urgency.”