Councillor highlights fears over Barrowford ‘strangler’ threats to women
Fears about reports of a man allegedly threatening to strangle women in the Barrowford along with other incidents and difficulties in contacting the police were raised at a borough council meeting.
Councillors and others at Pendle Council’s Barrowford and Western Parishes Committee heard a series of concerns at their latest meeting on January 5.
But there was also positive news with latest police figures suggesting many types of reported crime have fallen recently in the Barrowford area.
Alleged difficulties faced by households in contacting Lancashire Police were highlighted and councillors also asked about the investigation surrounding the death of Barrowford man James O’Hara in late 2021.
Barrowford Coun. Carlo Lionti raised a number of incidents including alleged recent threats to women.
He said: “There was a guy threatening people about strangling them. It has happened on more than one occasion. He is a very dangerous man. He has threatened to strangle two people."
Coun Lionti added: “People want to be reassured that they can get hold of the police. I’m repeating myself but the system is broken. People want to get hold of the police. I get so many people talking about things.
“We had an incident where somebody rang my [door] bell. But how do I get in touch with the police? I rang the non-emergency 101 number but was asked to leave a message and the police would get back to me. It takes hours. But what do we have to do? Ring 999? If somebody is there, trying to break into your house, surely there must be another way of getting in touch?”
Regarding the alleged ‘strangler’ threats, Police Community Support Officer Kinga Wisniowska said she understood a suspect had been arrested on suspicion of assault of an elderly woman and would be sent to court. She did not know the exact latest details surrounding the allegations or arrest.
Regarding other concerns and attempted entries or break-ins, she added: “I would strongly encourage people to call the police if they have any concerns. If someone is trying to get into your house, call 999. We would consider it an emergency.
Alternatively there is the 101 number for non-emergencies. We also put our own contact details on social media and I’m more than happy to share mine.”
PCSO Wisniowska gave an update on reported crime for December 2021 compared with December 2020. Overall, these showed a falling number of reported incidents. The Lancashire Police figures covered Barrowford, Higham, Barley, Roughlee, Blacko, Higherford and Old Laund Booth.
Overall in December 2021, there were 23 crimes reported in the area, compared with 36 during December 2020. The latest December incidents included one home burglary. one vehicle crime, five assaults, four thefts and 10 cases of anti-social behaviour.
Overall, almost all types of reported crime fell in December 2020, the figures suggested. Only thefts had risen, from four reported in December 2020 to five in December 2021. Overall reported crimes had fallen by 13, with the biggest falls in anti-social behaviour incidents, down by 10, and reported criminal damage, down to zero in December 2021 from five in December 2020.
PCSO Wisniowska added: “Most of the different categories show a fall. Anti-social behaviour has decreased by 50 per cent, which is great. I don’t have any particular areas of concern but I’m happy to hear if anybody else has any particular concerns.”
Robert Oliver, representing Barrowford Parish Council, thanked the officer and welcomed the crime update. He said: “These are good figures. However, a few months ago we read about the death of James O’Hara and a man has been released on suspicion of murder. ”
The PCSO replied: “I’m not in a position to comment on that but I can get an update for the next committee meeting. It’s obviously a big worry and that type of alleged incident does not happen very often in Barrowford. I appreciate there will be concern. We have put out updates including on social media.”
The body of 45-year-old Mr O’Hara was found at an address in River Way on Friday, October 29. In November, a 31-year-old man was released under investigation pending further enquiries and a 22-year-old man was released with no further action.