Belfast Telegraph

Family's trauma as girl aged 16 is stabbed during Belfast break-in

By CLAIRE GRAHAM

The family of a 16-year-old girl who was stabbed during a burglary at her home have spoken of their trauma over the attack.

Maria Brady and her mother Paula (40) were left badly shaken after two masked men forced their way into the home at Lisvarna Heights, Belfast on Saturday afternoon.

Schoolgirl Maria was knifed in the arm during the incident and her mum sustained minor injuries during the struggle at around 1pm.

A family member told the Belfast Telegraph they were "doing just fine" and "just want to be left alone".

No items were taken during the assault and police maintained a presence in the area until after 4pm.

The Belfast family, who have lived at the property for a number of years, said they were "sweet" following the shocking break-in.

Friends described Paula as "a quiet woman who keeps herself to herself".

"The fact a young girl was stabbed – just a child really – is disgusting enough, but watching your daughter be attacked is something I can't even stomach to think of," said the friend who did not wish to be named.

She added: "They are a quiet family and never in a million years would you expect harm to come to them."

Another resident in the Lower Falls cul-de-sac said the teenager was recovering well and "going about her business on Sunday morning".

"She seemed fine but then again you never know what is going on in someone's head," she added.

The area, made up of mainly young families, was stunned to hear of the violent attack on their street.

A neighbour with small children said: "There's us doing our Santa shopping in town and right on our doorstep a teenage girl is being stabbed.

"I honestly couldn't believe it when I heard.

"My heart goes out to them, especially in the run-up to Christmas. It'll take them a while to feel safe in their own home again."

SDLP councillor Colin Keenan said he is appalled at the attack.

"For anyone to be stabbed it's appalling but in their own house, and the safety of their own home it's horrific," he said.

"A lot of positive policing has been going on in the area, and there is ongoing dedicated work to make the place safer.

"I would ask anyone who has information to come forward to the police."

A spokeswoman for the PSNI appealed for anyone with information to get in touch.

Information can be reported to police on 0845 600 8000, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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