Family's trauma over neighbours 'from hell'

By Marcus Dysch, August 20, 2009
The house in Totteridge where the travellers live

The house in Totteridge where the travellers live

A Jewish family say they are being tormented by antisemitic abuse and harassment from a family of nine travellers living next door at taxpayers’ expense.

Jeremy and Hannah Kaye, an administrator for the Hanoar Hatzioni youth group, and their sons Jamie and Charlie, say they have been taunted with shouts of “Yids, Yids” and had glass jars and sacks of rubbish thrown at their home.

John and Serena Connors and their seven children — described by the Kayes as the “family from hell” — moved in to the £1 million five-bedroom detached house next to the Kayes in Totteridge, north west London, in February.

Despite attempts to reconcile with the Connors, the Kayes, members of Finchley Reform Synagogue, said relations had deteriorated further.

Former JFS pupil Jamie, 17, said his bedroom overlooks the neighbouring property.

“They are the family from hell. They walk there and back past our house and they shout at us and make hand gestures,” he said.

“An empty glass jar was thrown at our house and they are always screaming at each other and banging into other cars. The youngest boy is uncontrollable.

“My mum went over to the house and asked them not to throw things into our garden and they just laughed at her. My little brother is 11, he went to take their ball back and afterwards the other kids began taunting him.

“My parents have been very upset by it all. It’s such a peaceful area and they just came out of nowhere.”

The Connors’s £2,400 per month rent is covered by housing benefits and a scheme which sees private landlords take in the homeless because of council housing shortages.

The owner of the house, Sapna Bukhari, claimed the Connors had caused £12,000 of damage, with radiators ripped from walls, drains blocked and floors ruined. She is now seeking legal advice in the hope of evicting them.

Mrs Connors has denied all the allegations against her family and said they had themselves been harassed by neighbours and police. She said Mrs Bukhari had made false allegations in order to have them evicted.

On Wednesday there was little evidence of Mrs Bukhari’s claims of thousands of pounds of damage at the property. The driveway was clear and reporters shown around the house by the Connors saw no signs of damaged radiators or ceilings.

But the Connors’ presence prompted police to deliver notes to the neighbours warning of suspects from the travelling community targeting properties.

Last updated: 1:41pm, August 21 2009