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Camden's oldest person to receive Asbo

PUBLISHED: 10:10 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:44 07 September 2010

Terence O'Rourke

Terence O'Rourke

AN abusive pensioner has been banned from waving his walking stick in an aggressive manner after becoming the oldest person in Camden to get an Asbo. After terrorising parts of Dartmouth Park and Kentish Town, Terence O Rourke was handed th

Ben McPartland

AN abusive pensioner has been banned from waving his walking stick in an aggressive manner after becoming the oldest person in Camden to get an Asbo.

After terrorising parts of Dartmouth Park and Kentish Town, Terence O'Rourke was handed the order at Highbury Corner magistrates' court on January 26.

The 68-year-old has a string of previous convictions.

Camden Council and police decided to take action after O'Rourke, of Croftdown Road, Dartmouth Park, repeatedly abused and acted aggressively towards shop workers and the public. His anti-social behaviour included prodding people with his walking stick.

Recent charges against him include racially aggravated harassment against a woman in Highgate Road.

PC Mick Hill, of Highgate Safer Neighbourhoods Team - who along with his colleague PC Karl Moynes gathered the evidence on O'Rourke - said the Asbo was a last resort.

He said: "This action was necessary to protect the public in Highgate and Kentish Town as they go about their daily business.

"Residents have persistently complained about O'Rourke's constant and unprovoked abuse and often contacted police in distress. We had to gather all the evidence and put it before the court.

"O'Rourke had not listened to us in the past so it was felt this was a last resort to try to combat his behaviour and make him adhere to the law."

Under the terms of his five-year Asbo, O'Rourke is banned from being "verbally abusive or offensive towards any person or encouraging any other person to do so" within Camden borough. He is also instructed not to "use his walking stick in a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to a person not of the same household as himself".

The Ham&High understands that the council and police applied for further conditions - including preventing him from sitting on certain walls. But they were not accepted by the court because of O'Rourke's disabilities.

Copies of the Asbo, including its conditions and a picture of O'Rourke, will now be sent to all shops and businesses in the area to make them aware of the rules.

If he carries on being abusive and breaches his conditions, he could be arrested and put behind bars.

One of his neighbours, who did not want to be named, doubted whether the Asbo would solve the problem. He said: "It's quite sad. He needs psychiatric help and to be put in sheltered accommodation. He is a pain no doubt about that."

The pensioner becomes the 434th recipient of an Asbo handed out by Camden Council since the orders were brought in back in 1999.

Of these, 74 were dished out to under-18s. Mr O'Rourke is the first over 65-year-old to receive one.

Camden Council's crime boss Cllr James King said: "Asbos are an important tool in dealing with persistent anti-social behavioural problems.

"One of the reasons why the figures are quite high in the borough is because many Asbos have been issued to tackle the drug dealing around Camden Town. We use Asbos along with many other tools.

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