Belfast Telegraph

Crossbow bolt shot through window narrowly misses man

BY CLAIRE GRAHAM

A Maltese man and a friend narrowly escaped death when a lethal crossbow bolt was fired through a window of his flat.

Tony Parnis (42) has lived in the Donegall Mews property for just two weeks and says he "cannot understand" why he has been targeted.

The bolt just missed his head and hit a toaster in his kitchen at around 8.50pm on Tuesday night in south Belfast, punching a hole in it.

The unemployed man who has been a resident in Belfast for three years told the Belfast Telegraph he was sitting by the window with a friend listening to music and chatting when the arrow shot through.

"It was just by chance I had bent down to remove some fluff from the floor," he said.

"I'm lucky to be alive. It's not nice to think someone nearly killed you.

"I saw it fly past and hit the toaster. We were in shock but I'm not scared – I just don't know why it's happened to me."

The crossbow bolt punched through the double-glazed front window into the open-plan flat off the Donegall Road.

"I didn't hear anything outside beforehand, it just happened so quickly.

"I love this flat, I don't want to leave it.

"I even slept here after it happened. Why should I have to leave the place I want to call my home?

"When something like this happens you begin to ask questions, and especially because I don't know why I was targeted."

Mr Parnis said he couldn't identify the attack as a hate crime. It's believed a previous tenant of three years was Chinese and had never been targeted because of his nationality.

"I've never faced any racism since I have lived in this city. I've never had any problems.

"Even my friend who was with me at the time was a local, someone from Belfast. I just want to know 'why me?'"

"Obviously I'm not happy with what's happened but I don't want to leave this place."

One furious neighbour described the attack as "crazy".

"He could have been killed, it could have gone through his neck, his head – anywhere."

Mr Parnis said PSNI officers stormed the home last month after his first week in the flat.

"It's been one thing after another."

Yesterday, it was confirmed a search had been carried out on September 28 in relation to suspected criminal activity.

QUOTES

"There is absolutely no justification for such a criminal and violent attack on anyone in our society. This type of activity is not welcome on our streets by society."

Councillor Claire Hanna, member of Belfast District Policing and Community Safety Partnership

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