'Desperate' - homeless couple with six-month son old break into empty council flat to try and claim squatters' rights

'Desperate' - homeless couple with six-month son old break into empty council flat to try and claim squatters' rights

'Desperate' - homeless couple with six-month son old break into empty council flat to try and claim squatters' rights

'Desperate' - homeless couple with six-month son old break into empty council flat to try and claim squatters' rights

'Desperate' - homeless couple with six-month son old break into empty council flat to try and claim squatters' rights

First published in News

A family with a six-month old baby say they resorted to squatting in an empty one-bedroom Tolworth council flat out of desperation after spotting it was empty, write Nazia Dewji and David Gazet.

Unemployed builder Marlon Pede, 43, said he climbed in through an unfastened window in the ground-floor flat in Chaffinch Road early last week before changing the locks and moving his girlfriend Clare MacDonald, 21, and son Dre in.

The couple slept on a mattress on a bare concrete floor, while Dre was asleep in a car seat.

They were escorted out on Wednesday by five police officers and two council workers, shortly after the delivery of two second-hand sofas from the Fircroft Trust charity shop.

Mr Pede said before he was evicted: “We thought we were trying for squatters’ rights. We have tried every avenue to do it properly. Normally I wouldn’t do that, but because of the nature of the situation I would climb through a fire if it put a roof over my son’s head.”

He claimed the flat had been empty for five or six months and he had noticed it because a friend lived in the block.

The couple moved to England from Guernsey in August 2013, but have been unable to find work and are currently claiming jobseeker’s allowance.

They had also tried to get a flat with Hillingdon Council.

Mr Pede’s other daughter Jade is living with his mother, he said.

Miss MacDonald, an ex-beauty student, said: “We are both trying to find work. This was the only way to get their attention.”

The family said they had slept in a car on Wednesday night after being evicted from the Tolworth flat.

Councillor Gaj Walloopillai, opposition lead for better homes, said: “I don’t condone squatting, but the council has a responsibility to address homelessness.

“This is the most shocking case I have heard of. It is compounded by the fact that they have a small child but it is terrible regardless.”

But Councillor Patricia Bamford, lead member for better homes, said: “If you had earmarked a property to move into and someone moved themselves in there you wouldn’t like it would you?

“I do feel sympathy; housing is a serious issue.”

A spokesman for the Kingston Federation of Residents said: “The lack of adequate social housing is rapidly becoming the number one problem not just in this borough but right across Greater London and the south east, and the problem is now too great for any individual local authority to resolve.”

Kingston Council has brought more than 800 empty homes back into use since 2010 by negotiating with owners and giving them grants to do up properties. But there are still about 7,000 people left on the council house waiting list, Coun Banford said.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:02pm Sun 20 Apr 14

pinky107 says...

simple solution , go back home , get a job , earn some money then come back . you're not our problem and definitely should not have kids or come here expecting an easy ride . earn your keep like WE have to . you've paid sod all in but get job seekers and want a home . i'd like my own place but i'm working and saving for it .
and give your kid a proper name instead of calling the kid after a gangsta rappers name .
simple solution , go back home , get a job , earn some money then come back . you're not our problem and definitely should not have kids or come here expecting an easy ride . earn your keep like WE have to . you've paid sod all in but get job seekers and want a home . i'd like my own place but i'm working and saving for it . and give your kid a proper name instead of calling the kid after a gangsta rappers name . pinky107
  • Score: 21

5:37pm Sun 20 Apr 14

Judi456 says...

Hear hear Pinky, I agree wholeheartedley. I Wonder if they use the Food Bank ?
Hear hear Pinky, I agree wholeheartedley. I Wonder if they use the Food Bank ? Judi456
  • Score: 10

10:29am Wed 7 May 14

wobwoba says...

What are you two going on about? 'go back home?' disgusting racists you are. and insulting the child? get a grip.
What are you two going on about? 'go back home?' disgusting racists you are. and insulting the child? get a grip. wobwoba
  • Score: -5

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree