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Misunderstood 11-year-old girl terrorises town

Someone remind me again why I should have children?

Siobhan still drinks, but has quit smoking after getting an anti-social behaviour order. She is 11

The youngest girl to be served with an anti-social behaviour order is just "very misunderstood", her mother said yesterday.

Those misunderstandings have arisen because of 11-year-old Siobhan Blake's habit of terrorising an estate in a seaside town with her violent behaviour, spitting, hurling eggs and stones, and rampaging through gardens.

She has been suspended from school in Hastings, East Sussex, for smashing windows and disruptive behaviour, and has now been served with a two-year Asbo by magistrates in the town after numerous complaints from neighbours.

But Siobhan, who says she has recently quit smoking but still enjoys a surreptitious swig of high-strength lager, claims that she is trying to reform. "I want to be good so that my mum doesn't get in trouble," she said.

Siobhan lives close to 12-year-old Stefan Gilmore, the country's youngest disqualified driver who is currently locked up for his part in a robbery on a train.

The 4ft 3in youngster - who wants to grow up to be "a nurse or a pop star" - considered that the worst thing she had ever done was smash the school windows and steal money and cigarettes from her mother.

"I've done the school and I go in people's gardens. I did two windows at the school but that wasn't the point. They said they had proof of me smashing them but, at the same time, they said the CCTV wasn't on," she added defensively.

"I have a sip of dad's Stella when he's not looking and I do Calpol. I wish I could drive cars. I did smoke but not now. It made my throat hurt."

The youngster counts gymnastics, majorettes, swimming and tennis among her interests and enjoys science at school because "I get to play with the Bunsen burners". She added: "I like PE because I get to kick the ball at people like the teacher."

Her mother, Jodie Blake, 30, has four other children and has now been served with a Parenting Order forcing her to accept responsibility for her daughter's future behaviour.

"I can't say she's an angel because she's not," said Mrs Blake. "I think the Asbo is a good thing because now she will get the help I've been asking for but have not got.

"I don't think Siobhan realises the seriousness of the Asbo because the things that they are doing on a day-to-day basis are what lots of other children in the street are doing, so it's almost like the norm.

"A lot of it is egg-throwing at houses. I haven't bought eggs for months and months because she takes them. She can be quite nasty sometimes with the things she says but she is not a horrible girl.

"With her brothers and sisters she is more mothering. I think people just don't get to see that side of her very often. I think she is very misunderstood."

However, Insp Mark Bright, of Sussex Police, said: "This individual's anti-social behaviour over many months had a very real detrimental impact on the lives of many residents. The support of the community was essential to ensure that this case was successful at court."

The terms of the Asbo ban Siobhan from throwing missiles, spitting, assaulting anyone, using abusive language and gestures, damaging property and harassing people in a manner "likely to cause alarm".

She was taken to court after a four-month investigation by the Safer Hastings Partnership following complaint to the housing association running the estate where the girl lives.

"We regret that the situation went so out if control that it had to come to this. But that is what the law is designed for," said a spokesman.

A girl who lives nearby said Siobahn was not liked by other children. "She spits at me. She chucks eggs at our windows and swears at me. She goes around with a gang of 16- to 20-year-olds and smokes out on the street," she said.

Siobhan says the one thing she would like to do is take up horse riding. "My mum won't let me because the horse stadium is too far away," she said. "It's upsetting."

Posted by zorkmidden on Jun 06, 2005 6:00 pm

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