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'Knife-wielding thug said he would cut off my head'

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 14/09/2015

Tina Patrick and Councillor Brian Kingston with some of the weapons
Tina Patrick and Councillor Brian Kingston with some of the weapons

A woman has told how a knife-wielding thug threatened to cut her head off during trouble at a west Belfast interface.

Families described how a crowd of up to 20 teenagers ran amok, targeting residents, their cars and their homes.

One woman said she was horrified at being threatened with a knife.

"I was terrified - I couldn't sleep after it," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

A DUP councillor claimed it was a sectarian attack by nationalist youths.

The trouble flared at Workman Avenue, off the Springfield Road, on Saturday evening.

Residents said a teenage gang stopped a workman locking the interface gate then went on a rampage in the street.

Armed with chunks of wood, bottles and an iron bar, the group reportedly targeted residents, homes and cars.

One woman was left bruised and in pain after being beaten with the iron bar.

Another was threatened with what she believes was a Stanley knife.

"I heard a lot of shouting and then a large bang. When I went out, one of the cars had been hit," the woman added.

"There was a crowd of youths running up the street, throwing bits of wood and bottles.

"I walked down to them and one of them turned around, he was wearing a blue and white tracksuit top, and he said 'I'll cut your head off'."

The woman did not want to be identified out of fear.

"There were about 20 of them - including five young women," she added.

"They were shouting 'Up the IRA' and all this.

"There hasn't been much bother lately, but I'm afraid that, come the dark nights, this is going to start all over again."

A second woman, Teena Patrick, said she suffered bruising after being struck by an iron bar.

"My leg was bruised - it was painful," she said. "I had to move back - it was a life-or-death situation with them. They just had no fear at all.

"I really thought my life was in danger.

"There was a sustained attack for about 20 or 25 minutes."

Mrs Patrick, who is a resident of Workman Avenue and co-chair of Ainsworth residents' group, said she believed the youths came from the Springfield Road.

Brian Kingston, a DUP councillor for the area, said: "This is an utterly deplorable and inexcusable sectarian attack on an interface community."

PSNI Inspector Paul Noble said: "Officers attended the scene and the youths dispersed a short time later.

"There have been no reports of injuries or damage to property at this time."

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