ASBO Man Is Run Out Of Town

A man has been banned from his home town for ten years after terrorising its residents for the past three decades. Mark Bowkett, 40, described by police as the “Scourge of Lydney”, was expelled from the town and the surrounding areas as part of an antisocial behaviour order made at Gloucestershire Magistrates’ Court. It has left him homeless and separated him from his wife and seven children.

The order was granted after behaviour that brought him an average of two criminal convictions a year since 1977.

District Judge Simon Morgan said on Monday: “This is an extremely important order and I am conscious that this will make the defendant homeless, but not his family. . . A ten-minute offence by him might soon be forgotten by him, but its effects on victims can linger for years and can become a nightmare for victims. And it is fear which stops many people from complaining. He is a prolific offender who has never learnt and the community of Lydney must be free of him.”

The judge acknowledged that Bowkett had a “good side” after reading letters of support from his wife and a son. “He has been a good family man and he has been a good neighbour to his friends, often helping with their problems,” he said.

Bowkett’s wife, Cindy, 37, and their children Mark, 18, Anne, 16, Danielle, 13, Carlton, 7, and Anthony, 2, were coming to terms with the order yesterday. He also has a son and daughter and two grandchildren from previous relationships. Mrs Bowkett said: “The only place he knows is Lydney. He’s been here all his life and now he can’t come back unless it’s for the birth of his child or a funeral, and even then he’s got to give police 24 hours’ notice.

“He is a good family man. He might have had a bad reputation when he was a teenager but they are just trying to make an example of him now. I don’t know where he is going to go. I can’t leave because of the kids and he doesn’t know anywhere else.”

Bowkett was in Gloucester Prison yesterday, where he is serving a sentence for breaching an interim ASBO, as neighbours celebrated his departure. “Everyone around here knows him and he’s disliked by everyone because he’s a thief, a burglar and a bully,” one neighbour said. “He’s a really nasty piece of work. Everyone will be glad he’s not coming back.”

Another said: “I would not have anything to do with him, everyone round here knows that he’s trouble.” The application for an ASBO was sought by Gloucestershire Constabulary and Forest of Dean Housing. It was supported by a file containing more than 500 pages of evidence.

William Okoya, for the applicants, said that Bowkett had been terrorising the neighbourhood. His antisocial behaviour included assaults, criminal damage, threatening behaviour and carrying offensive weapons, such as an axe.

Nick Cooper, for Bowkett, said: “If the objective of the order is to prevent antisocial behaviour and bring a change of attitude to my client, then the best place for him to be is in Lydney, where elements of the order can be better enforced because everybody knows him.”

After the case, Chief Inspector Richard Smith, of Gloucestershire police, said: “This man has been the scourge of Lydney for years. Let this be a warning to others.”