December 6 2013 Latest news:
by Imogen Blake
Thursday, October 3, 2013
A mother has warned of the dangers of putting personal details online after her £1million house was trashed during an out-of-control “Facebook party”.
Police were called in to disperse 600 revellers in Gladsmuir Road, Archway, when a girl was taken to hospital with alcohol poisoning.
Homeowner Catherine Seale was left with thousands of pounds worth of damage in the aftermath of the party, organised by her 17-year-old son Christopher while she was away on holiday.
Laughing gas canisters were strewn across Mrs Seale’s ruined carpet and despite the best efforts of her sister-in-law and son to clean up the mess, the property smelt strongly of vomit for days.
“The last thing I told him before I went away was ‘don’t have any parties’”, the 54-year-old mother said. “The carpet was trashed and they damaged a skylight because somebody fell on it. They could have been killed.”
“Even though it had been cleaned up when I got back from France, everything felt sticky and dirty and it stunk.
Christopher invited 60 friends round his house on Saturday, September 21 while his parents were away but his friend, who put the event on Facebook, did not realise the online invitation could be seen publicly.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the scenes of “anarchy” included youths fighting, urinating in gardens, underage drinking and older teens arriving in suped up cars – but no arrests were made. When an ambulance arrived at 9.15pm to take a girl to hospital, Christopher realised the party was out of control and sought help. Police had the crowd broken up by about 10.30pm.
Mrs Seale first heard about the party from a concerned mother who dropped her son off at the house and phoned to tell her that 600 teens aged between 14 and 18 were wrecking her home.
“Since the party, [Christopher] seems to be working really hard at school,” Mrs Seale said. “Maybe he’s been hit by the realisation that the things he does will have consequences.
“All parents should be warned that this could happen if you go away and leave your 17-year-old alone.
“I think if anyone is going to throw a party, they need to look at their privacy settings on Facebook. It’s absolutely essential that children are made aware of this.”
In July, a similar ‘Facebook party’ which got out of hand in Tomlins Walk, on Holloway’s Andover Estate, resulted in a police helicopter being scrambled and riot police being sent in after reports of gunshots. It coincided with the end of a dispersal order on the estate following the murder of Andrew Jaipaul in July 2011.
No arrests were made at the Gladsmuir Road party but Mrs Seale made sure her son apologised to her neighbours for the disastrous event.
She said he will be donating his time to a worthwhile charity.