Cornard wheelchair user appalled at police response to vandalism incident

Full-time wheelchair user Kevin O'Connell was targeted by vandals who severely damaged his car by dragging a sharp object all over it. He is unhappy with the police response to the incident and believes cutbacks are to blame.



Picture: Mecha Morton
Full-time wheelchair user Kevin O'Connell was targeted by vandals who severely damaged his car by dragging a sharp object all over it. He is unhappy with the police response to the incident and believes cutbacks are to blame. Picture: Mecha Morton

A disabled man, whose car was vandalised by “mindless thugs” at the weekend, has criticised the police response to the incident, saying he believes cutbacks are to blame.

Wheelchair user Kevin O’Connell, of Hawthorn Road in Great Cornard, phoned the police on Sunday after finding gouges and scratches along his red Mercedes.

Full-time wheelchair user Kevin O'Connell was targeted by vandals who severely damaged his car by dragging a sharp object all over it. He is unhappy with the police response to the incident and believes cutbacks are to blame.



Picture: Mecha Morton

Full-time wheelchair user Kevin O'Connell was targeted by vandals who severely damaged his car by dragging a sharp object all over it. He is unhappy with the police response to the incident and believes cutbacks are to blame. Picture: Mecha Morton

He says he feels he was specifically and intentionally targeted, having been the victim of several vandalism incidents and thefts from his garden in the past, prompting him to install a six-foot fence around his home.

A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said the incident is thought to have occurred between 1pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday.

But Mr O’Connell, a former Cornard Dynamos Football Club manager, said the incident had caused a great deal of personal stress, adding that he felt “deeply disappointed” that he had not been visited by an officer.

“The police give you a crime incident number and that’s it. It doesn’t fill you with any confidence,” he said.

Full-time wheelchair user Kevin O'Connell was targeted by vandals who severely damaged his car by dragging a sharp object all over it. He is unhappy with the police response to the incident and believes cutbacks are to blame.



Picture: Mecha Morton

Full-time wheelchair user Kevin O'Connell was targeted by vandals who severely damaged his car by dragging a sharp object all over it. He is unhappy with the police response to the incident and believes cutbacks are to blame. Picture: Mecha Morton

“It’s so disappointing. With all the cutbacks, people’s lives are being affected. It’s just appalling.

“I have got three hospital appointments this week, but it feels like I have got no support from the system – it’s only from family and friends. I feel totally let down.”

He later said on Wednesday he had been told by police they had no more lines of enquiry and would be closing their investigation.

Mr O’Connell explained he feels that austerity has gone unchecked for too long, creating safety issues for disabled people like him.

“I avoid Sudbury like the plague because people park in disabled bays, on kerbs and on double yellow lines and it’s not policed,” he added.

“I have to ride my wheelchair on roads because cars are parked on the pavements.

“It’s not just about me. It’s about partially sighted or blind people as well. It is beggars belief.”

Anyone with information about the incident should call Suffolk Police on 101, quoting the reference code CAD 169 of September 10.