ASBO for Jewish housing resident, 71

He’s 71, a former Merchant Navy officer living in sheltered housing — and he’s just been given an ASBO


A 71-year-old sheltered accommodation resident has been given an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) and ordered to pay more than £6,000 in legal fees after allegedly "threatening violence" towards staff.

The Jewish Community Housing Association obtained the order against one of its tenants, John Godfrey, who claims he was just "retaliating to provocation".

The retired senior Merchant Navy officer has complained to his MP, Matthew Offord, and made an application to Barnet Court to have the order set aside.

Mr Godfrey, from Ramsgate, moved to Daniel Court, a complex of 28 flats in Colindale, north London, 15 months ago to be closer to his two sons.

"I thought it would be a nice, pleasant place to live in," he said.

He said the trouble started after he lodged a series of complaints about his scheme manager, Meg Lines, and the conditions in his housing block.

The situation erupted in February when the police were called after he removed locks from windows when his request to have the locks removed was refused.

"I had asked them to be removed because there was no ventilation and the next day three new locks appeared," he said. "This was absolute provocation.

"I'm a poor old pensioner. I don't have any money. For someone to send me this bill for a soppy little case like this is ridiculous." Flats in Daniel Court cost £536 a month to rent.

Earlier this month, he received a letter from the association's solicitors saying they had obtained an injunction against him.

It said he is forbidden from causing a nuisance or using threatening, offensive or abusive language to anyone in Daniel Court or sending any correspondence to Ms Lines. The order will continue for a year.

Sara Clarke, chief executive of JCHA, which has 14 blocks of sheltered accommodation in London, Hertfordshire and Margate, said: "JCHA's application for an injunction against Mr Godfrey was very much a last resort.

"It followed a number of incidents when his behaviour was considered to be rude, aggressive and intimidating.

"Contained within the application to the court were copies of several letters written by Mr Godfrey in which he insulted Miss Lines and in which there were veiled threats of violence.

"Miss Lines is a long-standing and well-respected member of staff and the association has not received complaints from any other tenant at the block.

"The extent of Mr Godfrey's behaviour towards Miss Lines was such that the association had no alternative
but to embark upon court action against him."

    Last updated: 4:02pm, June 17 2010