Family’s terror during racist attack as police take seven hours to respond

Marlena Pakula flanked by sons David (17) and Alan (9). Pic: Neil Hanna
Marlena Pakula flanked by sons David (17) and Alan (9). Pic: Neil Hanna
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A POLISH family had their new car vandalised and were abused in the street during a sustained racist attack.

Marlena Pakula, 38, and her husband Lukas, 34, told today how they phoned police eight times before officers visited their Wester Hailes flat, where the family has lived peacefully for almost a decade.

Marlena and the couple’s two children – including their terrified nine-year-old boy – were out for a walk when teenagers launched an unprovoked verbal assault before smashing eggs against their new car.

Marlena said: “This was unprovoked, we don’t even know the people that were shouting at us.

“They were saying such horrible things, we are a quiet family and have lived in the flat for nine years, with no bother.”

A panicked Lukas phoned police from the flat, but claims to have been told that no officers were available to help.

The family then contacted the force a further seven times as the teenagers kept up the assault.

Marlena was verbally abused as she took pictures of her Mazda MK2, which later had its back window damaged and its convertible roof slit open.

She said: “The car was our son’s who is 17 and has been learning to drive.

“We only bought it a few weeks ago for him.”

One neighbour who heard the torrent of abuse hurled at the family condemned the teenagers.

Ian Harvey, 60, who lives in the flat below the family, said: “I heard the teenagers banging about when the car was parked outside, I heard them shouting.

“They are such a lovely family, they don’t deserve to be treated this way.”

It was only after the eighth call to police later that night that officers arrived at the scene.

Marlena said: “I’m really angry at the way we have been treated by the police.

“We had to phone them eight times over the course of eight hours before someone finally came around, and by that time it was midnight and the damage was done.

“It’s concerning how long they took to attend to us.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police received a report of youths causing a disturbance and throwing eggs at a vehicle in Harvesters Way at 4.20 pm on Saturday, September 10. The caller made a number of further calls to police to provide an update on the disorder and to request that officers attend at the address.

“Due to a number of ongoing incidents, which required a high-priority emergency response, police were deployed to Harvesters Way, Edinburgh, at 11.18pm that evening where they took a full statement from the complainer and commenced inquiries into the racially-motivated vandalism of the vehicle. As is standard procedure, we will review the full circumstances surrounding our response to this incident and taken any appropriate action required.”