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Child opens letter with bullet demanding debt is paid to racketeers

Published 06/11/2015

The community has stood by the family, the councillor said.
The community has stood by the family, the councillor said.

A Sinn Fein councillor has said a Belfast family were subjected to a terrifying experience when a sympathy card, with a bullet in it, was opened by their young child.

Niall Ó Donnghaile said the Short Strand family were clearly not the target of the letter from the racketeers.

He said it was demanding payment of an outstanding debt.

The former Belfast Lord Mayor said: "A Short Strand family, including an elderly lady, who is housebound as a result of a stroke, were subjected to a frightening experience after a young child discovered a sympathy card with a bullet inside calling for payment of an outstanding debt.

"This is a clear case of mistaken identity."

He went on: "The family concerned are a respectable and highly-regarded one in the Short Strand area and the very fact that it was addressed to their "son", when they only have daughters, indicates a clear case of mistaken identity and total disregard for the wellbeing of this respected family.

"Those responsible entered this area seeking to cause fear and intimidation.

"This community rejects those involved in peddling drugs and criminality completely and stand firmly behind the local family subjected to this experience.

“No one should be intimidated in this way.

"The PSNI must now ensure that a thorough investigation takes place and anyone involved in this incident is brought before the courts as a matter of urgency."

A police spokeswoman added: "PSNI does not comment on threats. Where we are made aware of an issue appropriate steps are taken to advise the individual regarding their personal security."

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