Widow feels trapped

herald sun oct 2007

BEVERLEY Hargreaves is too scared to leave home after dark, fearing she might get caught up in Noble Park's gang violence.

The 75-year-old widow, a local for 52 years, said the area used to be "lovely".

"Now, it's just not safe.

"The police presence makes a huge difference but they haven't always been here like this," she said.

She considered selling and moving away, but decided against it. "We raised the family here. I have memories here," she said.

Mrs Hargreaves supports the decision to give African refugees the cold shoulder as "marvellous".

"I don't mind that they're here, as long as they learn to live like Australians," she said.

Tim Nicolopolous, 15, said he took up martial arts after being repeatedly beaten by ethnic gangs who taunted him as white trash.

"I know some Sudanese guys and most of them are fine, but others can get a bit violent," he said.

"They don't need to bring their problems and violence from their country here. They need to pull their heads in."

One young Sudanese, who wouldn't give his name, said he'd lived in the area for three years. "We are not violent. There is no violence," he said.