Mum 'feared for family' in Antrim attack
A mother-of-two has told UTV how she had to lift her sleeping children out of their beds to safety, after an armed gang raided her Antrim home.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Three properties in the Greystone estate were damaged during a spate of attacks on Monday evening. A man and a teenage girl are being questioned about the incidents.
A group carrying machetes and hammers tried to force their way into the home Lisa shares with her four-year-old twins.
The gang smashed the kitchen and living room windows, before kicking the front door open at around 9pm on Monday. They then ransacked the house, wrecking laptops and televisions and also stealing a mobile phone.
"I was fearing for my kids' lives. The only thing going through my head was to protect my kids," Lisa told UTV, describing the scene as "mayhem".
"I had to lift my children out of their beds, into the freezing cold, to bring them to their grandmother's house to safety."
A 35-year-old man was assaulted and received injuries to his hand.
Shortly after 10pm, a group of people tried to break into an upstairs flat nearby. Just minutes later, a third property, believed to be empty, was deliberately set on fire.
A Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said that an aerial appliance had to be used, as the extensive blaze meant the roof was unsafe for crews to access. The fire also caused smoke damage to the house next door.
I'm scared in case they do go back, but I have to go back. It's my home for me and my kids. There's nothing else I can do.
The series of attacks comes after a suspected arson attack in the Ballycraigy Estate in the early hours of Monday morning, in which two boats outside a home in Craigshill were destroyed.
Lisa said the attacks have damaged the neighbourhoods within the Firmount estate.
"Everybody was once a community and pulled together," she explained. "But it divided a wedge between the whole community.
"Last night, everybody came and stood together out my back to show them that we are not going to take it anymore.
"We just want to live and bring our kids up."
A 44-year-old man is being questioned on suspicion of aggravated burglary, resisting arrest, disorderly behaviour and assaulting police.
A 16-year-old girl was arrested on Ballycraigy Road early on Tuesday morning, also on suspicion of aggravated burglary in connection with the incident.
Police say investigations are at an early stage and that officers are working to establish the circumstances surrounding the attacks.
They are appealing for anyone with information that could assist the investigation to contact them.
Antrim DUP Mayor Roy Thompson said it was lucky that no one was injured during the incidents.
"Thankfully, we are not looking at fatalities this morning," he said. "Thankfully, the house that was attacked, in the main attack, it was empty at the time and has burnt to a shell."
He added: "I unreservedly condemn such incidents in any part of Antrim."