The widow of a disabled man who killed himself after being repeatedly attacked by young yobs at his Midland home last night backed calls for a "Tony Martin's Law".
Teenage hooligans terrorised Martin James, 64, so many times that he eventually fired an air rifle at them to scare them off - and landed himself in trouble.
Instead of tackling the louts, who had also vandalised his property, police threatened the despairing householder with prosecution for daring to use the firearm.
Days later Mr James hanged himself in his garden shed after leaving wife Angela a note bearing a heart-breaking message that summed up his misery.
"I'm sorry," he wrote. "The kids have beaten me."
At the inquest into his death, coroner Alan Crickmore said that "a campaign of torment" had led Mr James to take his own life last August.
Angela James, 38, from White City, in Gloucester, is now backing calls for new legislation to give householders greater powers to protect their property.
The campaign has been dubbed Tony Martin's Law, named after the Norfolk farmer who was jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar.
Angela met her husband, a retired demolition contractor, while using Citizens Band radio. They were married for 13 years but the constant harassment from youths put an enormous strain on Mr James.
"Every night they were there," said former British Telecom worker Angela. "They used to shout abuse and throw stones at our windows.
"There's a cemetery at the back of our house. They used to hang out there and shine torches into Martin's bedroom at night.
"Once they tied a fishing line and hooks to our door handle. I didn't realise and I went to grab it as usual, I felt something sharp on my knuckle.
"They knew that they could wind Martin up. He just wouldn't stand for their loutish behaviour.
"The police didn't help. He even went to the parents of the yobs but they said there was nothing they could do."
There was massive public outcry after Tony Martin was jailed for life in 2000 for shooting dead gypsy Fred Barras, 16, who broke into his Norfolk farm. He also wounded career criminal Brendan Fearon.
Although the offence was later reduced to manslaughter with a five-year term, middle England united to protest.
The farmer's defence of the right to protect property, and his belief that the law was skewed in favour of criminals, struck a chord with many.
Angela recalled how her husband had picked up the airgun to defend their property.
"Martin shot at them with an air rifle a week before he died," she said. "He aimed it above their heads so it wouldn't hit them.
"But the police later told him that he could be prosecuted.
"I could sympathise with how Tony Martin must have felt. I would support calls for a law in his name giving householders more powers to protect their property."
Gloucestershire Police said they sympathised with Mrs James and said they had offered her husband advice on how to deal with anti-social behaviour.
Chief Insp David Peake said: "We take all such calls seriously and will investigate incidents that are reported to us."