10:30am Tuesday 24th September 2013
By Thomas Burrows
THE mother of a severely disabled boy has had the special vehicle she uses to take him to hospital vandalised five times in eight weeks.
Hailey Townsend, 29, of Druce Way, Blackbird Leys, said she was disgusted after her Peugeot Boxer van, which is fitted with an access ramp for a wheelchair, had all its tyres slashed yesterday morning.
She has now had 11 tyres slashed in two months – and has had to fork out £1,500 to repair the damage.
The latest incident means she has not been able to take her son Jardell, five, who has cerebral palsy, to regular hospital and physio appointments.
In addition she cannot get to the specialist Mabel Prichard School, in Cuddesdon Way, that he uses.
She said: “I am disgusted, and it makes me feel scared.
“Someone is doing this to be vindictive.
“I don’t know why they would want to target this car .”
Jardell was dubbed the “Miracle Baby” by the Oxford Mail when he beat the odds to survive after doctors told his mum three times to say goodbye to him .
The tot weighed just 2lb when he was born four months premature at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital with a string of life-threatening illnesses.
A brain bleed meant he developed post-haemorrhagic hydrocephalus – fluid which causes the brain to swell – and further complications including chronic lung disease, an infection on the lungs and epilepsy.
Now he goes to hospital at least once a week, often twice, for check-ups.
Full-time mum Ms Townsend said: “I use my car for everything – to get Jardell to school every day, to go shopping and to visit my mum in Abingdon Road, who has diabetes.
“I have had to get 11 new tyres in the last eight weeks and my car has also been keyed.
“Overall it has cost me about £1,500. Each time you claim a slashed tyre on insurance it costs about £300 in excess, so there’s no point.”
Ms Townsend, who has five children, Kimberley, 11, Emily, nine, Jamie, eight, Jardell, five, and one-year-old Felicity, said she could not take and collect her children from school because of the damage to the car.
Former boyfriend Scott Johnston, who is Felicity’s father, said: “I’mbaffled as to why anyone would want to vandalise this vehicle.”
Mr Johnston, 31, who lives in Shepherds Hill, Blackbird Leys, added: “Jardell is severely disabled and it will affect him getting to his appointments.”
Thames Valley Police say they are investigating.
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