(Left to right) Nola Speeding, Donna Maria Adams and Barry Ellem of Casino say they have received letters threatening to kill them and burn down their homes. In other letters, threats have been made against children.
(Left to right) Nola Speeding, Donna Maria Adams and Barry Ellem of Casino say they have received letters threatening to kill them and burn down their homes. In other letters, threats have been made against children. Jay Cronan

Family receives death threats

DONNA Maria Adams is standing her ground.

In recent months the Casino mother has received hate mail containing threats to kill her, the family dog and burn down her Hotham St home.

"Some of it's been threatening, harassing and extremely lurid," Mrs Adams said.

Just four weeks ago, she and her husband, Peter, may have intercepted an attempt to burn down their garage when they found paper and cardboard stuffed between the garage and the fence doused in an accelerant.

This came the day after receiving a letter containing a press clipping of a story in which a family had been killed in a house fire. On it were scribbled the words "yo's next".

Mrs Adams said perhaps someone had taken exception to the family flying the Australian flag in their front yard, but apart from that she could think of no other reason for the poisonous letters.

The family is well known for their involvement in Casino Neighbourhood Watch.

The flag and pole were given to her husband as a birthday present in March.

"It's not coming down," Mrs Adams said.

"We are standing strong, we won't take it."

The family has been forced to install closed-circuit television for their protection. It is switched on around the clock.

Despite the high security measures Mrs Adams said she was not afraid.

"We are refusing to be victims," she said.

The Adams family are not the only ones to receive the poison pen letters. As many as seven Hotham St residents have received letters, the worst of which have contained sexual threats against children.

Too afraid to go public, one woman said her child, who had been threatened in one of the letters, was now too afraid to leave the family home unaccompanied.

Another resident, Nola Speeding, said she received a threatening letter four months ago.

Shopkeeper Pat Needham also received a letter threatening to burn down her shop.

"It said I was a white bastard and to watch our backs," Mrs Needham said.

Some of the letters have been delivered by post, others have been dropped into letter boxes, but all bear drawings of the Aboriginal flag.

Mrs Adams said she did not know who was behind the campaign, which has left many in the neighbourhood fearful.

In recent years Casino, where Mrs Adams has lived for 52 years, had become unrecognisable due to violence and crime, she said.

"If somebody doesn't do something soon ...we are at the point of no return," she said.

The letters have been reported to the police.

Richmond Area Command acting crime manager, Detective Acting Inspector Matt Kehoe said the investigation was ongoing.

Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333  000 or Casino police on 6662 0099.



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