Eight-year-old girl held down in gang attack at family home in Banbridge
Residents in Banbridge have been left shocked and appalled by an attack on a mother and her eight year-old daughter by a gang who broke into their home.
Three men, wearing dark clothing, forced their way into a house in Bramblewood Drive, beating the woman and a 17-year-old girl, while another restrained the eight-year-old girl.
The 48-year-old mother and the teenager were treated for suspected fractures, while the child was treated for shock.
A neighbour, who asked to be referred to only as Jim, said neighbours in the quiet street were in a state of disbelief at the ferocity of the attack.
He said: "I was shocked when I heard what had happened.
"I don't know the family who were targeted but it must have been terrifying, especially for the wee girl.
"I believe they were in a terrible state.
"It's appalling, grown men attacking a woman and young girls.
"This is a very quiet area, people are friendly but keep to themselves.
"People who live here are ordinary, hardworking, decent people so it was a shock to everyone around here.
He said Bramblewood Drive is mainly populated by families and it is comprised of four and five bedroom detached and semi-detached houses which sell in excess of £160,000.
Jim said that residents were taking extra precautions following the attack.
"No-one could believe it, really, but since it's happened we've been keeping the door constantly locked," he added.
"I've told my wife to always keep her phone on her at all times and not to answer the door at night.
"I know a few neighbours who are doing the same. It's panicked people, but hopefully the police will get to the bottom of it."
Detective Inspector Stephen Harvey said the three men forced entry to the home at around 10.55pm on Friday night.
He said: "This was a vicious act and I would ask for the public to assist us in bringing the perpetrators to justice."
It is the second serious attack in the town recently. A man in his 40s suffered serious head injuries when he was assaulted at Scarva Walk in late July.
Speaking on Friday after the attack, Ulster Unionist MLA for Upper Bann Doug Beattie said he would be meeting with the PSNI to discuss what can be done to address "the escalation of such attacks on people's homes in the Banbridge area".
"If this is a matter of resource, it must be tackled at the source," said Mr Beattie.
"A young child of only eight years of age has been left traumatised by this when she should be safe in her own home."
Banbridge UUP councillor Elizabeth Ingram described the incident as "a despicable evil crime" and branded those responsible as "cowards".