Sunderland domestic violence victim made homeless by court order after reports of anti-social behaviour

20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.
20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.
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A domestic violence victim is homeless after a court ordered her home be closed for three months after reports of anti-social behaviour.

Magistrates in Sunderland made the order under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.

20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.

It means that nobody is able to enter the Gentoo-owned property at 20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, where Leighanne Usher lived until the hearing on Friday.

The court heard the 28-year-old was unable to stop associates attending the property, causing a nuisance.

Hayley Hebb, for Northumbria Police, said a possession order was granted by Sunderland County court on Wednesday.

Ms Hebb said: “A court may make a closure order if the court is satisfied that a person associated with the use of the premises has engaged or is likely to engage in disorderly, offensive or criminal behaviour and cause nuisance to members of the public.

These orders are draconian, but a number of avenues have been explored unsuccessfully

Hayley Hebb, for Northumbria Police

“We submit that there has been both crime and disorder on the premises in question.

“The majority of incidents have been perpetrated by associates of Miss Usher.

“Gentoo and Sunderland City Council fully support this application.

“These orders are draconian, but a number of avenues have been explored unsuccessfully.”

20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.

20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.

Gregg Stephens, defending, said: “Despite what we have heard about here today, her only convictions are for traffic offences.

“I concede anti-social behaviour, but we don’t agree with everything that is in the bundle. A lot of it is hear-say.

“The order is unnecessary for a number of reasons.

“She will not be appealing the possession order.

20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.

20 Oldfield Close, Southwick, Sunderland.

“She doesn’t want to stay at the address. She just wants somewhere to go. If you make the closure order today she immediately becomes homeless.

“Leighanne Usher is very vulnerable domestic violence victim, and the main problem is probably not Leighanne Usher, but her previous partner.

“She is desperate to be away from that address and out of Sunderland, somewhere he can’t find her.

“The residents in the street want her out, the council wants her out and the housing association wants her out. She wants out too but there is nowhere for her to go.”

Bench chairman Jennifer Bell said they had considered allowing Usher to remain in the property, but that they had to have regard to the human rights of neighbours.

Ms Bell added: “We believe Miss Usher would be unable to prevent her ex-partner or others from entering her property and surrounding area.”