Hate crime victim is praised and admired

A YOUNG man with Down’s Syndrome who was viciously bullied by neighbours for 18 months used his experience to train police to deal with hate crime.

Richard Sherratt, 32, of Higham Ferrers, who had his electricity cut and door spat on by neighbours, received a Certificate of Appreciation at the awards on Thursday after using his experience to train more than 100 control room staff.

Mr Sherratt, who now lives in Wykeham Road, said: “It’s very good.”

Mr Sherratt’s neighbours in School Lane, Higham Ferrers, where he was living independently four years ago, would provoke him then call the police when he reacted. Officers with little training in dealing with people with learning disabilities would believe the neighbours, who carefully hid their actions. They even persuaded MP Peter Bone to write to Mr Sherratt suggesting he move home.

Presenting the award, Insp Dennis Murray, who helped set up the eight training sessions, said: “Richard’s neighbours had been shouting and swearing at him, had called him evil and told people that he had brought the value of their property down.

“This abuse came to an end when his family discovered that he had been left alone after being subjected to a night of terrifying behaviour by his drunken neighbour and her friends.

“This included having his electricity switched off, spit on his front door and numerous malicious phone calls.”

Mr Sherratt, who has also starred in a Mencap DVD about hate crime, used scenario-based training to improve the communication skills of control room staff.

Insp Murray said: “Attendees were asked to provide feedback on the lessons Richard gave, and he received nothing but praise and admiration.”

Mr Sherratt’s mum, Dawn Line, said: “I’m really proud.

“He has done a really good job.”