Families who claim they have suffered racist abuse, threats of violence and constant loud noise at the hands of their neighbour are demanding action to put an end to their suffering.
People living in a block of flats in Churchill Terrace, Chingford, are calling for Waltham Forest Council to evict a woman who they say has been destroying the community for the last two-and-a-half years.
Many are too scared to confront the tenant, in her 20s, but a group of neighbours held a public meeting with Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith today as he pledged to help them.
Wayne Hewitt, 34, a self-employed gas engineer, said the woman has made repeated threats to kill him, that she has spat on him as well as abusing him for being black.
The father-of-two said: “I’ve been going mad. The police are round all the time. A couple of nights ago they had to break up a fight she was having outside.
“She’s made threats on my life and she's tried kicking in our door in the middle of the night – all for confronting her about her behaviour.”
His partner, 38-year-old Mel Byrne, added: “I feel trapped. She’s a complete nightmare. We welcomed her when she moved in. It’s a close-knit community but since she came she’s been tearing it apart.
“I’m suffering heart palipitations because of the stress. My son Nathan won’t go to bed on his own because he’s so scared – he’s nearly 12.”
The couple claimed police had been due to take her to court over the threats and racist abuse last November, but that the trial was called off when the Met and the Crown Prosecution Service blamed each other for losing the evidence.
Ascham Homes, which manages the property on behalf of the local authority, has told Mr Hewitt they hope to take his neighbour to court in an attempt to evict her in April.
But Afrim Reka, 24, who lives with his parents and sisters on the same floor as the woman, said their complaints should have been been acted upon more quickly.
He said: “It’s so frustrating. We just need someone to help us. The council and police take far too long to act.
“The problems happen all the time. My sisters are late for school because she’s banging on the walls in the middle of the night keeping everyone up.”
Duncan Smith said: “I will let the chief executive of the council know about this straight away. One person can destroy the lives of everyone around them but that should not be allowed to happen.”
The police and council have been approached for comment.