An 11-Year-Old Child Bullies A Town For THREE YEARS
'Pint-Sized Thug, 11, Banned From Town' (The Sunday Mail 22/12/2002)

A BABY-FACED schoolboy has been banned from the town centre he has terrorised since he was eight. Robert McDermott, 11, is one of the youngest children to be named and shamed in the British courts and issued with an antisocial behaviour order.

The pint-sized thug lives in Harpurhey, Manchester, with his mother Tracey Tierney, 36, brother James, 17, and sisters Chloe, 8 and Lois, 7.

Neighbours say that for more than three years he has run amok in the town, screaming abuse in the streets, lighting fires, threatening neighbours and exposing himself.

Judge Alan Berg described his behaviour as the worst he had come across and banned Robert from huge areas of the town.

I have read the complaints against you and they are the most appalling episodes of misbehaviour I have come across for a boy of your age," Judge Berg said. "Some people have had a wretched time but ... your uncivilised behaviour is at an end."

Magistrates In Manchester were told this week that Robert, who is just 122cm tall, terrorised dozens of residents and businesses in the town. Neighbours were abused and threatened with violence and their properties were vandalised. They say they have lived in constant fear of the young thug since his family moved into the area more than three years ago after being evicted from their previous home.

Magistrates were told Robert caused chaos at an indoor market, screaming, swearing and destroying property. He once tried to set fire to items on a hardware stall. John Biggs, 54, who runs a sports stall at the market, said:

"He was a nightmare. He would cause all sorts of nuisance. I'm very glad I won't be seeing much more of him."

This is not the first time the family has been in trouble. In 1999, the children ran amok, smashing doors, gates, windows and fences, setting bins on fire and damaging cars at their previous home in another part of Manchester.

Angry neighbours reported Ms Tierney and her children to Manchester City Council. She was ordered to keep her four children under control. But their behaviour continued and the family was evicted. Ms Tierney, who lives on welfare, was then jailed for eight months for threatening witnesses who gave evidence against her children in the eviction case.

In the latest case, the court granted a council application for Robert to be named. If he breaches the order he could face up to five years in a boys' home.