Woman who killed daughter and then committed suicide 'was bullied'

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The Independent Online

A mother who killed her disabled daughter and herself was let down by police who failed to act over youths who tormented them, according to a friend of the family.

Fiona Ann Pilkington, 38, and her 18-year-old daughter Francesca were discovered burning in their car outside Earl Shilton in Leicestershire on Tuesday night.

Yesterday a neighbour, Ann Jones, said she suspected Ms Pilkington had "had enough" after a series of incidents which included stones and eggs being thrown at her house. Mrs Jones, 55, said that during the harassment "nobody was there to help her".

Leicestershire Police confirmed several incidents of "antisocial behaviour" were reported, but failed to say when these occurred. Francesca – known to her friends as Frankie – had learning difficulties.

"If the police had done their job, she would have been here," Mrs Jones said. "I think she did this because of all the hassle she was getting."

The neighbour, who had known Ms Pilkington for 10 years, added: "There was nobody there to help her. The police should have done more. She must have been so low. She would not have done that if she was not really down. She was a wonderful person. She was a really good mother and always put her children first."

Superintendent Rachel Swann, of Leicestershire Police, said the force was reviewing the case. "When a tragedy of this nature occurs, anyone who knew the family or had contact with them will naturally ask questions of themselves," she said in a statement.

"As a force, we are asking questions of ourselves by reviewing the incidents Fiona reported to us.

"We work closely with the council to tackle antisocial behaviour and they too are reviewing the incidents reported by this family."

The mother and daughter were found dead after police received a report that a car was burning in a lay-by off the A47.

Last night, residents on the street, Bardon Road, spoke out about the abuse and bullying. Kylie Lloyd, 17, said: "Stones were thrown at the windows and the house kept getting egged. People would knock on the door and say they had done stuff to her and she used to get annoyed so she would not let any of the kids out."

A police spokeswoman acknowledged there were problems in the area and said: "While we can confirm Fiona Pilkington had reported several incidents of anti-social behaviour to the police, we must stress there is no connection between those arrests and Fiona or Francesca, or indeed the investigation into their deaths."

Last night, a police spokeswoman denied the police failed to act on incidents reported by Ms Pilkington and described the allegation as "unfair".

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