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Plea by wife of cancer sufferer as drunks and addicts turn flats complex into 'nightmare'

By Leona O'Neill

A woman whose husband is fighting cancer has said "months of hell" caused by anti-social behaviour at their apartment block in Londonderry is hampering his recovery.

Constance Jordan (56) and her husband Martin (57), who is receiving treatment for throat cancer, have had to deal with drunk people urinating outside the front door of their Riverview Apartments home and doors being smashed in.

She said they've also faced threats, people under the influence of drink and drugs passed out in the corridors, blood on the walls, and even people defecating in the hallways.

Constance fears that the stress of this "chaos" in the John Street apartments, owned and run by the Habinteg Housing Association, is hampering her husband's chances of getting better.

"When my husband moved into these apartments they had just been refurbished," she said.

"They opened them to much fanfare in 2016 and said they would be safe and secure homes. They have been anything but.

"I have come in here days and there have been drunk people passed out on the floor.

"There are pools of urine in the foyer and my husband had to clean up what he thought was dog faeces from the lobby that turned out to be human faeces."

She said said they faced constant noise from the hallways, and radiators have been torn from the walls.

"We can't sleep. In the corridors there are people off their faces on drink and drugs," she said.

"We have been accosted outside our apartment and I have been threatened.

"People have broken the buzzers for the doors, so you have to walk down flights of stairs to let them in."

She said they feel let down by Habinteg.

"People here were promised a safe and secure building," she said.

"If they wanted to use the apartments to house those with drug or alcohol issues they should have done that, but don't put responsible people in there too.

"Residents here are afraid. I don't feel safe in my home anymore and my husband is so stressed.

"He needs peace to heal.

"His doctor said that he's not in a good place health-wise for chemotherapy at the moment because of all the stress.

"He needs a safe place to recover and at the moment he is stressed about what is coming next, what the night will bring.

"We can't live like this."

The couple lost their 16-year-old son Andrew to leukaemia in 2007.

She added that Martin's battle with the disease now has her "in bits".

"It's bringing up memories of my son and the fear of losing my husband as well," she said.

"I want to save my husband's life.

"Living like this is not helping his health at all - it is an absolute nightmare."

Habinteg said it was aware of the recent disturbances at the Riverview Apartments.

"Our staff members have responded promptly to calls from the property over the Christmas break and members of our housing and maintenance teams have been at the apartments this week to meet with tenants," it said.

"We condemn all anti-social behaviour and will continue to do all we can to assist those who are distressed by the unacceptable actions of others."

It added: "We are working with the PSNI to address any issues, to reduce the likelihood of such incidents and to provide a safe and secure environment."

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