Terrified Bunbury man's plea for a new home

A 41-YEAR-OLD Bunbury man suffering cerebral palsy has resorted to spending nights in the bush and says he has almost given up on life after three years of abuse and threats from his neighbours. 

Raymond Onions has lived in a housing department unit in Carey Park for five years but desperately wants to move to escape daily torment from other government housing tenants. 

Mr Onions has been prescribed strong pain medication containing codeine for his illness. 

He said his neighbours found out about the drugs and began arriving on the doorstep, claiming to be in pain and begging him for some pills. 

In February last year, the Bunbury Mail reported on life-threatening codeine addiction which affects dozens of people across the city.  

When Mr Onions refused, he said his neighbours armed themselves with steel bars and threatened to bash him if he did not hand the drugs over. 

Mr Onions said it soon got to the point where he became a prisoner in his own house. 

“When I want to go anywhere, it is a matter of sneaking out into the car and driving out as quickly as possible and just hoping my windows don’t get smashed,” Mr Onions said. 

His sister Karen Bruntlett said she was terrified for her brother’s safety and has appealed to the government to have him shifted as soon as possible. 

Ms Bruntlett said the situation had become so violent that she and her brother had spent days and nights in bushland near Bunbury. 

“Out in the bush we can relax and let the dogs run around – at home we are living in constant fear, it’s not right,” she said. 

Housing department service delivery general manager Steve Parry said Mr Onions lodged a disruptive behaviour report in December which was investigated and found to be “unsubstantiated due to insufficient evidence and a lack of witnesses or police reports.”

But Mr Onions said he was unable to gain the support of witnesses because no one wanted to be targeted by violence. 

Mr Parry said if a tenant was found to have engaged in dangerous behaviour – including assault and acts of violence toward neighbours – the department would move to evict immediately.

Mr Parry said if Mr Onions’ transfer was approved, he would be placed on a priority waitlist which had an estimated time of 12 months in the South West. 

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