TWO SIDES (OR MORE) to EVERY STORY


Today, I felt compelled to investigate an immediately provocative news story which had been posted numerous times across various social networks, often augmented with strong and understandably heartfelt reactions in comments from those who had read the headline and who had viewed the shocking image of a wheelchair user being evicted from his home.

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Reading the full story was enlightening and, as an advocate for social equality and justice for all, I had to respond.

Rest assured that it is not my aim to vilify either the man himself or the police. Let me play Devil’s Advocate – and please feel free to comment and respond. Better to debate than to hate….

My understanding is as follows:

The man had been a bad tenant and abusive neighbour. It is only because he is in a wheelchair that this has made the headlines at all. The landlord had been trying to evict him for months and council offered accommodation and help in housing his animals. He also had time to put trousers on and was sat with his carer as he ignored the door! It is too easy to assume that he is some sort of victim when this isn’t the case at all. It is too easy to look at the picture and see the headline and feel sorry. That makes sense but the truth is that he is only in the news because he is in a wheelchair. I just find that a headline and image like this is provocative and the full facts are very different to what is imagined by most who are reposting this. Equality is important and a non-wheelchair user wouldn’t be in the news in a similar situation. He was offered accommodation. He wouldn’t be made homeless and had months to find an alternative home. Whatever the truth of the situation, he will be housed but it isn’t for a private landlord to keep a tenant who is allegedly a nuisance to neighbours….his disability should not be a get away with anything card; that is offensive to others who are wheelchair users….of course the press say “allegedly” because they have to use that word and of course the man denies bad behaviour; it’s not likely you’d say “yes, I’m a s*@t neighbour”….anyway, good luck to one and all…

Here is the story in full.

A disabled man was left partially dressed in the street in his wheelchair after being evicted from his home.

Police had to break down the front door of Vincent Tumulty’s house in Leicester yesterday after he had barricaded himself and his carer inside because he did not want to leave.

The 51-year-old had backed his wheelchair up against the door to stop his landlord and officers entering the property.

A disabled man was left partially dressed in the street in his wheelchair after being evicted from his home.

Police had to break down the front door of Vincent Tumulty’s house in Leicester yesterday after he had barricaded himself and his carer inside because he did not want to leave.

The 51-year-old had backed his wheelchair up against the door to stop his landlord and officers entering the property.

However, police were able to force their way past and Mr Tumulty, who has multiple sclerosis, was evicted at about 3pm.

By about 4pm, the windows of the property, in Avenue Road Extension, Clarendon Park, were being boarded up, while Mr Tumulty, who was not wearing trousers, sat outside.

His carer was granted access to the house to collect a small selection of his belongings, including a new litter of Jack Russell puppies which had been born that morning, and which Mr Tumulty clutched in a box outside his former home.

Landlord Vipen Gohil had been granted a court order “as a last resort” to evict Mr Tumulty, whom he described as an “abusive” neighbour.

Mr Tumulty said: “Social services offered me somewhere temporary, but said I had to get rid of my dogs.

“They also said I’d never see them again if I did, so I’m not doing that. That means I’ve got nowhere to go.”

A city council spokesman said it had offered Mr Tumulty a place in a nearby nursing home, which he had declined.

The spokesman said: “That offer still stands. We have also advised him that he can go to the Dawn Centre, and have given him contact details for the Dogs Trust and RSPCA.”

The Dawn Centre, in the city, provides temporary accommodation for the homeless.

Mr Gohil, 42, said he had tried to evict Mr Tumulty in June, but the tenant had resisted.

Yesterday, Mr Gohil, the police and a team of bailiffs were at the scene to remove him.

Mr Gohil said Mr Tumulty was asked to move out after neighbours had complained about his abusive behaviour.

He said: “He was asked to leave about two months ago but refused, so we had to get a court order.

“Neighbours had said he was intimidating them, swearing and throwing glasses. This is a last resort – we haven’t been left with any other choice.”

Mr Tumulty denied he had abused his neighbours.

“That’s absolute rubbish,” he said.

His carer, Iwona Nawrocka, who had been in the house with him when the police broke through the front door, said: “He doesn’t want to leave, he’s been here for three years. He lives by himself, and has MS and he needs care.

“This eviction was humiliating for him, everyone could see him in his wheelchair outside his house, he wasn’t even given a chance to put on trousers.”

A spokeswoman for the police said: “Police were called to assist a landlord in possession of a court order to evict an occupant of a property in Avenue Road Extension.

“Officers assisted in negotiating with the man to voluntarily leave the property where arrangements have been made for him at an alternative accommodation.”

Mr Tumulty said yesterday that he did not know where he was going to spend the night

 

I’m playing devil’s advocate really….just hoping to hear different views and there definitely isn’t sufficient info in the article to make any judgement on any party involved. I feel empathy and agree with a councillor who commented on the original article saying that “disabled people are just like everyone else, some are salt of the earth types, most are just normal with the same good and bad points as others and some are rotten to the core. The fact he’s in a wheelchair is incidental. We (i’m a wheelchair user myself) don’t want or ask for special treatment and that means if a disabled person is anti social he/she should be treated no differently than anyone else”. Peace and respect to all who care enough to comment and good luck to those affected.

 

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About neverblendin

David Watters, a graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh, Trinity College of Music, London and the Institute of Education, University of London, has worked internationally within education and Educational Management for more than 20 years. He has taught extensively within many socially and culturally diverse settings; most recently as a Head of Performing Arts within Further Education. He is a personal and professional development associate with The Pacific Institute (www.pacificinstitute.co.uk), personal coach, freelance writer and founding member of NBI Associates. He is a writer on social equality issues, is a key player in the Equal Love Campaign UK and author of the forthcoming book, NEVER BLEND IN which features key voices from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and which aims to inspire and encourage those who may lack self-esteem or who question their validity. David is currently promoting a youtube campaign"Give 'em Hope"and is asking individuals, couples and groups to make and share videos telling about the benefits of living with personal authenticity. He has shared a platform with Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell and is a supporter of 17-24-30, The Trevor Project, Schools Out, The Terrence Higgins Trust, The Albert Kennedy Trust and numerous others. His background in arts and education, combined with a solid understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Strategies, and his passion for Equality Advocacy drive every aspect of his work as a personal development facilitator, motivational speaker and writer. View all posts by neverblendin

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