16:55 Monday 25 February 2013

'I am not a monster': Asbo yob speaks out

Written byBY HELEN KREFT

A 20-YEAR-OLD man who has seen his face splashed across Burton and South Derbyshire warning others of his Asbo has claimed he is a reformed character.

Joshua Matlock, who now lives in Swadlincote, was given the three-year order after a court heard he had “a history of offending” including racially aggravated assault.

The police and South Derbyshire District Council submitted the joint application for the Asbo after people in the neighbourhood where Matlock lived complained. They have now taken the extraordinary step of distributing leaflets and posters featuring pictures of the youth and warning people of the terms of his order, and appeared in the Mail on Friday.

However, Matlock – who wanted to be a police officer when he was younger - has now spoken out and says he only ever ‘treats people with respect.’

He said: “I was given the Asbo because I was arrested for a section 4 public order offence which is the lowest of the low offences.

“With the public order, someone was chased from Swadlincote and CCTV caught this.

“I didn’t do it but I was arrested and got done for it anyway and that’s why I have this Asbo. They have made something so small into something huge.

“I don’t have the Asbo for harassing anyone. I have never harassed anyone in Woodville.”

In this order, Matlock is prohibited from:

Acting or encouraging others to act in a manner that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more people who do not live with him in South Derbyshire.

Actively pursuing or chasing anyone in a public area causing them or a member of the public to be alarmed or distressed.

Associating in a public place, within South Derbyshire, with Adam Greig (not the subject of an Asbo).

Acting or encouraging others to act in a racist manner.

Causing nuisance, disturbance or harassment to any residents in Small Thorn Place, Woodville.

Despite the long list of warnings, jobless Matlock maintains his innocence but said this may all stem from his earlier teenage years admitted he was bad because he hung around with the wrong people.

He said: “I feel ashamed when I look in the paper as the police are trying to make me out like I am a monster and a bully when I am not - I treat people with respect. I am a reformed character.

“I was bad in my youth but that was when I was a youth. I was about 15 or 16-years-old and used to do criminal damage.

“I used to be angry and hyperactive and I was like that because I hung around with the wrong people. But I don’t hang out with them anymore.

“Everyone has their ups and down but I am not a monster. I have been conned by the system.”

He now believes that the Asbo could have disastrous consequences for him.

“I am scared about people who I don’t get on with making false allegations about me and I could get sent to prison for four years, if I breach my order.”

But, despite still claiming his innocence, he warns people not to go down the same route as him and to ‘go to school, go to college, and get a job.

“I wanted to be a police officer when I was younger but I won’t do that now.”

Asked what his family thinks of his naming and shaming, Matlock admits that they are ‘disgusted’ with him ‘because of what they have heard from the police’ but the 20-year-old maintains that he is not ashamed of himself saying: “I am ashamed of what the police have put about me - I want them to stop harassing me and leave me alone.”

A spokesman for the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership said it was hoped the case would encourage others whose lives are blighted by antisocial behaviour to report it.”

Breaches can be reported by phoning Derbyshire police on 101 or Safer South Derbyshire Partnership’s antisocial behaviour officer on 01283 595798.

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