A young family subjected to a horrifying ordeal at the hands of a sword-wielding neighbour told how they have become ‘prisoners in their own home’ after suffering a 10-month campaign of terror.
The victims said they had been let down by police after reporting incidents of intimidation and threats made by neighbour Firas El Hejjaji, 29, since August last year.
They handed officers a file of video evidence but said no action was taken before El Hejjaji was filmed trying to smash his way into their home in Braintree, Essex, with a three foot sword.
One shocking video shows El Hejjaji raining down blow after blow on another neighbour in a row over parking while another shows him slashing around wildly with a machete near the family’s home.
In the doorbell footage – which has been handed to MailOnline – El Hejjaji can be heard making threats against the couple.
A young family were horrified when their doorbell captured their raging nextdoor neighbour wielding a three foot sword and trying to smash his way into their home
In one he is heard saying: ‘Oh, you’re scared of the f****** f****** dagger c****.’
The husband, who we are not identifying, told MailOnline: ‘We fear for our safety after a long-standing campaign of abuse.
‘He didn’t suddenly wake up one day and want to smash the house up with a sword. This has been going on for nearly a year since they moved in last August.
‘We’re always looking over our shoulders and have become prisoners in our own home.
‘We have contacted police on numerous occasions and sent video evidence but we were told there was nothing they can do until someone comes to harm. It beggars belief.
‘It’s not just us. He even assaulted a neighbour in the street – hitting him about 15 times. We sent footage on that occasion but nothing came of it.
‘It’s like the police are encouraging him to do whatever he wants.
‘They’re saying “Go on Mate. Have another go if you want.”‘
Despite being arrested after the doorstep attack, El Hejjaji was back living next door to the family just 24 hours later after being simply fined for criminal damage.
El Hejjaji was ordered to pay £1,500 compensation when he admitted the offence at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (July 19).
The family – who include a heavily pregnant wife and young child – claim the taunts have continued after their neighbour was ‘let off with a slap on the wrist’.
Firas El Hejjaji was captured on doorbell footage trying to smash his way into the family’s home before a bystander stopped him
In the disturbing footage, Firas El Hejjaji, 29, can be seen attacking the family’s home with the metal blade
The family said police bizarrely told them a charge of possessing an offensive weapon was dropped as they ruled the object he used in the attack which caused more than £2,200 damage was a table leg.
The husband said: ‘They took away a three foot sword. I saw it in the back of the police car but they said that wasn’t the weapon he used.
‘The police rang us at 2am the day after the attack and said he was about to be released. That’s when they came out saying they had reviewed the footage and had decided it was not the sword that was removed from the property that was used in the attack it was, in fact, a table leg.
‘You can clearly see what it is in the video. It’s metal not wood but he wasn’t having any of it.
‘It’s unreal. We’ve been failed miserably.
‘No agency has come to us about safeguarding or support since the attack.
‘I’ve got a pregnant wife and child whose safety is involved but we’ve had nothing.
‘The police have been around since but they went to their house to make a welfare check after his release.
‘As the officer left he was saying ‘make sure you lock your windows and doors.’
‘Where was the welfare check for us? My pregnant wife? Not one phone call.
‘It got so bad we had to leave our home for a few days. We can’t take the risk he’s going to try and harm us again.’
In other footage, El Hejjaji appears to spit on the family’s drive. And another clip appears to show El Hejjaji flicking a lit cigarette at the neighbours’ door.
Firas El Hejjaji can be seen wandering outside the family’s home days before the attack
The family were horrified to see Firas El Hejjaji outside their family home after dark in September last year
Last week MailOnline reported how the family have been inundated with support since sharing the video.
Describing the attack the husband said: ‘He went completely nuts and started attacking our home with a sword.
‘Thank God we weren’t in at the time but neighbours who saw it were terrified for our safety and for theirs too. His partner had to intervene to try to calm him down.
‘Police were called immediately and we told them all about the background and they saw the footage of what he’d done – so when he was arrested and taken away we hoped and expected we’d never see him again.
‘Instead it was barely 24 hours later before we were told he was back here. He’d just been fined.
‘How can this not have been a more serious offence – affray perhaps – that might have attracted a longer sentence.
‘He was waving a dangerous weapon round with real menace – how much more threatening could this be.’
The family have been in dialogue with their local MP, James Cleverly, who has contacted police over the case.
Essex Police said it was unable to comment at this stage as a formal complaint was being investigated.
An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘We have a live complaint about our service. We are always saddened to hear if people are not happy with the service we provide and we will thoroughly investigate the concerns raised.’
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