Gang that made mother kill 'still at large'

Inquest told how family was driven to despair by youths on their estate

A group of children who terrorised a family so badly that the mother took her own life and that of her disabled daughter are still causing trouble on the estate today, a council worker said yesterday.

Fiona Pilkington, 38, and her two children Francecca and Anthony Hardwick, were subjected to verbal and physical attacks from the gang at their home in Barwell, Leicestershire.

Ms Pilkington became so despairing at the response from the council and police that she took her 18-year-old daughter, known as Frankie, to a secluded lay-by on the A47 in nearby Earl Shilton in October 2007. The mother then set light to their blue Austin Maestro, while she and Frankie, who had her pet rabbit with her to keep her calm, sat inside.

Yesterday, Ron Grantham, community safety manager at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council told an inquest at Loughborough Town Hall that despite seeking an injunction against one family the culprits still caused problems on Bardon Road, where Mrs Pilkington had lived.

"Throughout this tragic case this family still continue to cause trouble to this day," he said. "It's not just one, it's members of the family."

Mr Grantham said the parents who were unable to control their children were ultimately to blame.

"It comes down to parental control," he said. "With the best will in the world, and we have done an awful lot of work, if you cannot get a level of parental control, the problems will escalate.

"I dread to think what will happen to these children, criminality wise. If they don't stop they are going to end up in prison. It is a wicked cycle unless intervention is put in to place to stop it. That's my honest opinion."

Mr Grantham admitted that had Ms Pilkington complained to the council today, her family would have received greater assistance as they would have realised they were the victims of what could be termed as hate crimes.

He added: "As a partnership between the council and police, we have introduced a way of protecting public confidence and we have introduced an awful lot of ways to stop anti-social behaviour."

Earlier the inquest heard Ms Pilkington, her daughter and her son Anthony, now 19, had suffered years of abuse at the hands of a gang of youths.

The 16-strong gang would often pelt their house with flour, eggs and stones, while Anthony was attacked with an iron bar and locked in a shed at knifepoint. They also put fireworks through the letterbox of the semi-detached 1930s council house and jumped on the hedges outside its front door, while screaming abuse as the family cowered inside. The inquest heard Mr Grantham and two of his colleagues dealt with 2,476 incidents of anti-social behaviour between April and December 2007. Of those 313 were in Barwell.

Assistant deputy coroner for Leicestershire and Rutland, Olivia Davison, asked him whether this was "an inordinate amount of work".

Mr Grantham replied: "To a degree. Obviously anybody can say that they need more staff but with the resources we have got I think we did a good job."

Mr Grantham also said Ms Pilkington was given a diary to detail the abuse she suffered but this was found, untouched, at her home following her death. The inquest continues and is expected to conclude this week.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?