The daughter of troubled Benefits Street star Fungi has banned him from seeing her three children – fuming: “He ruined my life, I won’t let him ruin my kids’ lives too.”
Kirsty Clarke, the eldest daughter of Fungi, says she is so disgusted by his shameless antics on the show she refuses to tell her three young children about him.
The 23-year-old also claims her mum Donna was tricked into appearing on the docu-series by a Channel 4 TV crew who ambushed her on her doorstep.
She also told how TV producers bombarded her with daily text messages begging her to appear alongside Fungi, telling her he wanted a reconciliation.
Kirsty, from Birmingham, yesterday broke her silence about her absent dad, who has now fled the now notorious James Turner Street, after her family were victimised after the show aired.
The full-time mum said: “I’m so angry with the way my dad has come across on the show.
“He has come across as the victim but he’s brought it all on himself. He is a drug addict, he’s a loser.
“He threw his life away and turned his back on his family because of drugs.
“I don’t want anything to do with him.
“When I watched Benefits Street I couldn’t believe it. I was gutted and so ashamed to see my dad wandering around drinking alcohol and saying how much he missed his family.
“The day after the show was aired I was getting approached by people who knew my dad asking why I wasn’t helping him and I was called some awful things on Facebook.
“He made myself and my mum look heartless but all we’ve tried to do is be there for him.
“He’s betrayed us in the worst possible way and that’s why I’ve had to speak out.
“The truth is I have always tried to be part of my dad’s life and wanted him to be part of my children’s lives but all he cares about is heroin and alcohol.
“I haven’t seen him for five years, he’s always just popped in and out of my life and every time he did he would just ruin it. He’s never been a father to me.
“I remember when he took me to see his dad in the pub when I was 10 or 11 and my granddad gave me £10 in two five pound notes as a treat.
“When we got out the pub my dad took the card and took one of the five pound notes. That’s just the sort of person he is.
“He’s always been into drugs from as long as I can remember. One time I was with him at his flat and we were talking and then he went outside the room and when he came back he was off his head.
“His pupils were dilated and he wasn’t making any sense.
“I loved him because he was my dad but I felt really uncomfortable around him.”
One of Kirsty’s most disturbing memories of her dad, whose real name is James Clarke, 44, is when she and her mum saw him sleeping rough in a shop doorway.
She said: “I was 12 years old and one of my cousin’s knocked at the door and told us he thought he’d seen my dad in town asleep.
“My mum took me down to town and we saw him curled up next to another tramp in the shop doorway.
“I was so shocked to see my dad sleeping rough.
“I was ashamed, he woke up and started saying how sorry he was and he’d change his ways but he never has.
“He’s let me down my entire life. I haven’t had one birthday or Christmas present from him and I’m embarrassed for my kids that they have him as a granddad.
“Benefits Street is the worst thing he has ever done and we have to live with that forever.”
Kirsty’s mum Donna met Fungi when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl and he was on the dole aged 22.
Mum-of-three Donna, a full-time carer, said: “I was friends with Fungi’s sister and we met that way.
“He was always nice to me. He never worked but he was sweet and funny. We started going out and I fell pregnant pretty quickly with Kirsty.
“We split up because we were rowing, mostly about him smoking cannabis but we stayed on good terms for Kirsty’s sake and he moved into a flat nearby.
“I remember once when Kirsty was two-and-a-half I rang him up and told him I was coming round so he could spend some time with his daughter.
“But when we got to his flat it was full of people smoking cannabis.”
The couple split up for good when Fungi was in prison between 1993 and 1997.
They stayed friends until he turned up out of the blue at her house in Castle Vale, Birmingham, with a Channel 4 film crew.
She said: “I had just done a night shift and was exhausted. There was a knock at the door and there was Seamus (Fungi).
“At first he knocked on my neighbour’s door because he couldn’t remember where I lived.
“That was how bad he was.
“When he got the right house he just asked if he could come in. He was on his own but what I didn’t know was that he was being filmed entering the house.
“He sat down and told me about the programme.
“He said it was great because it was all about community spirit and he was desperate for me to appear in it.
“I was having none of it but he begged me to meet the crew who were outside so I went out and they just started filming me without me knowing.
“I still refused to do the show but they begged me. They lied and told me it was about community spirit too.
“They didn’t say anything about it being about benefits.
“I have always been civil to Seamus (Fungi) and encouraged him to get clean but I don’t think he ever will.
“He’s hooked on drugs and it’ll probably end up killing him.
“The last I heard was he has run off to Cardiff and is being put up in a hotel by Channel 4.
“He has sold his soul to them and has wrecked any chance of having a relationship with his children or grandchildren.”