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Teenage hooligans blamed for suicide

Family claim tearaways hounded man to death

A DISABLED man killed himself after suffering a two-year terror campaign by teenagers, his family claim.

Now they are demanding the youngsters are identified and made to face up to their actions.

The teeny terrors hounded Robert Mercer day and night at his Grangemouth home, making his life a misery.

Stones were thrown at him and his dog, he was taunted, eggs and dogs' dirt were pelted at his home, and, in the early hours of the morning, they would bang on the bedroom window of his ground floor flat.

A firework was even set off beside his window, smashing the glass and scorching the frame.

Eventually, his family believe the 56-year-old, who had twice fought back from serious injury, could stand the torment no longer and took his own life.

Mr Mercer's body was discovered at his Tummel Place home on Sunday, January 18, by his distraught sister Christine Robertson.

She believes he took his life the previous day following an incident involving local youngsters on the Friday evening.

Mrs Robertson (52) said: "He was a wonderful person who would do anything for anyone. I believe the reason that these youngsters picked on him was because he was slightly disabled and couldn't chase them away."

It was only after his death that Mr Mercer's family discovered from neighbour the full extent of what he had been subjected to.

They confirmed that he had been the victim of the teeny hoodlums, some as young as 11 years old.

Mrs Robertson, who lives nearby, learned that youngsters had been taunting her brother the evening before his death. "I've been told that he was very agitated and can only think that he couldn't face any more of this," she added.

Mr Mercer planned to travel to Brussels at Easter to visit his daughter Joanne Ward (32), son-in-law Ainsley and six-month-old grand-daughter Lauren. His younger daughter, Laura Mercer (29), lives in Newcastle.

Instead, his family gathered for his burial at Grandsable Cemetery, Polmont, on January 23.

His devastated sister said: "These youngsters must be made to realise what they did. They maybe didn't kill him ... but they certainly drove him to it."

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie described the circumstances around Mr Mercer's death as "horrific".

She said: "These children were running about causing havoc. This wasn't just minor vandalism but much more serious.

"Parents must check where their children are, who they are mixing with and what they are doing."

Mrs Peattie said she had asked Falkirk Police Area Commander, Superintendent Neil MacDonald, for a full report into the claims. She also intends to make Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson aware of the case.

Grangemouth councillor Willie Anderson said the tragedy highlighted what happened when youngsters were not properly supervised.

He said: "These kids must be named and shamed. Their parents must also take responsibility by knowing where they are."

Sergeant Fred Lowe of Grangemouth Police confirmed officers were investigating the family's complaints.

Meanwhile, Falkirk Council, who employed Mr Mercer for over 17 years at The Sign Factory in Falkirk, said neither he nor anyone else had made any complaints.

At 16, Robert Mercer was in a car accident where his leg was smashed in 15 places. After five years of hospital treatment he defied doctors to walk again with the aid of a stick. Then an accident while working at Grangemouth Docks left him hospitalised for another two years but again he battled back to health.

His sister said his free time was devoted to his family, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Hallglen and helping other people.

jill.buchanan@falkirkherald.co.uk

 
 
 

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