Belfast Telegraph

Caught on CCTV: Racist thug who tried to stab staff at takeaway

By Chris Kilpatrick

This shocking image shows the terrifying moment a knife-wielding man lunged at staff working in a Belfast takeaway.

The workers’ ordeal began when the man entered Bella Milano in the New Lodge area and began hurling racist abuse.

He then lifted a large blade from a counter and attempted to stab the takeaway manager.

During the incident — which was caught on CCTV — the man is alleged to have punched a member of staff, who is a foreign national, in the face.

Business owner Sam Schawhy said the victim was struck so hard he almost lost an eye and has been off work since.

The assailant then fled the takeaway.

The images were released to the Belfast Telegraph by the owner of Bella Milano who said he wished to highlight the dangers posed to foreign nationals living here.

Mr Schawhy says his employee was lucky to escape with his life.

While one man was arrested in connection with the incident, no formal charges have yet been brought by police.

“This man tried to kill my manager,” he said. “I phoned the police. It was very, very scary.

“My manager had to go to hospital and is still off work.”

He also said he is contemplating leaving Northern Ireland due to a number of racist incidents directed towards him and his staff.

Italian-born Mr Schawhy (37), who moved here 15 years ago and set up the business 12 years ago, said he feels more must be done to curb racism here.

He says if things don’t improve he will have little choice but to return home with his wife and seven children.

“I have to let people know these things are happening. It is not right,” said Mr Schawhy who employs 12 staff at the takeaway.

“It is not nice what is happening. Belfast should be a safe place for everyone.

“If these things keep happening someone is going to get killed.

“I have to think about my family, we have to make sure we are safe in this country.”

Police yesterday confirmed they were investigating an alleged assault at a fast food restaurant in the Churchill Street area of north Belfast.

A police spokeswoman added: “A 32-year-old man was treated in hospital for an eye injury.

“A 26-year-old man was arrested, interviewed and released on bail pending further enquiries.

“A report of intimidation the following day was looked into and no official complaint was made,” she said.

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