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A woman who was hounded out of her Brighton council estate because of her northern accent was told yesterday that s...
A woman who was hounded out of her Brighton council estate because of her northern accent was told yesterday that she is not protected by race relations laws.

The Daily Telegraph (p14) reports that June Wood said she will never recover from the 'mental torture' inflicted on her by neighbours on the Whitehawk estate after moving from Consett, Co Durham.

But she was told by the Commission for Racial Equality that her case could not be regarded as racial discrimination, although she would have had a valid complaint if she were Scottish of Welsh.

Miss Wood said that within days of moving to the estate with her two-year-old son Nathan, teenagers shouted abuse and spat at her, their parents began mimicking her accent and her windows were smashed.

She moved into temporary council accommodation after her flat was broken into and£2,000 worth of damage caused.

'It was all because I had a northern accent,' she said. They don't like single mothers and they don't like northerners. It's like racism.

'I have not been racist in my life but I could never understand the trauma of racism until I moved here.'

A spokesman for the Commission for Racial Equality said: 'The issue in law is quite clear that race relations covers differences in ethnic groups or differences in national origin.'

Meanwhile, The Guardian (p9) reports that Lancashire constabulary has apologised unreservedly to a couple living on a Lancaster housing estate for its repeated failure over eight years to investigate a violent race hate campaign against them.

Mal Hussein and Linda Livingstone bought a corner shop and flat on the Ryelands estate in 1991. They have since kept diaries documenting over 2,000 racist attacks by a group of council tenants who are well known to the authorities.

Chief superintendent John Thompson met the couple on Wednesday to present the results of a seven-month review into the police response since 1991.

In an apoology letter to the couple, deputy chief constable Paul Stephenson wrote: 'We fully accept there should initially have been more proactive management and co-ordination of the local police. I deeply regret that a higher quality of response was not given from the beginning.'

However, Mr Hussein said the review was a 'token gesture'. He wants an immediate meeting with the chief constable, Pauline Clare, and Ruth Henig, chair of the Lancashire police authority, to discuss his 'profound concerns' that racism in the force was ignored contrary to calls from the police authority in March.

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