Belfast Telegraph

Derry family's night of terror after a gang of thugs attack them

By Donna Deeney

An act of kindness ended in terror for a Londonderry family when their home was attacked by a gang of up to 30 drunken yobs.

The Kearney family, who have lived for almost 30 years in the Glen Road area, were at home when a 'ruckus' led to them finding a gang of about 10 youths in their garden. One was so drunk he could barely stand.

They ran off leaving their druken friend behind.

But the family's concern for the boy turned to terror when the gang, which increased to about 30, came back, broke down the garden fence and attacked them.

Joanne Kearney (27), who lives at home with her mother and father, told the Belfast Telegraph how trying to look after the drunken youth backfired on them. She said: "My daddy and brother went out into the garden first and saw this really young lad who was highly intoxicated in the garden. He could barely speak.

"We sat him down and got him a glass of water and rather than phone the police, we found a number on his phone for his parents and rang them, we were just trying to do the right thing. There had been a crowd of them, but most had scattered.

"But then they came back and tried to make out we were holding this boy against his will when we were trying to look after him.

"That's when things turned nasty; they started on the fence and broke half of it down, they were really abusive, they threatened us, saying they were going to come back and burn us out.

"They were even calling on me to come out and fight them.

"By this stage it was seriously getting out of hand so we rang the police but we had to ring another four times before they turned up.

"This gang threw a hammer at my father, it was an absolutely terrifying experience.

"Both my parents are pensioners and I know my daddy is trying to carry on as normal. It has affected him all the same and my mother has been left badly shook by it."

The attack on the Kearney family is among the worst of a number of incidents endured by residents living in the area.

She continued: "There was four of us facing this gang of both boys and girls but there was just no talking to them, they were out of control. It was like a stampede running and pushing at the fence.

"When the police arrived, there were just two of them which was totally inadequate and it was just luck that the gang scattered.

"Looking back now I honestly think it was just a random attack.

"There have always been kids drinking in the fields but never to this extent, it was something we as residents have just had to tolerate.

"We hope now that these boys apologise, fix the damage and I would ask that parents keep an eye on their children.

"I hope we never have to experience anything like that again."

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