Belfast Telegraph

Larne dad confronts gun duo who fired shots as children slept in house

By Victoria Leonard

A man whose three young children narrowly escaped injury after shots were fired into their bedroom has told how he confronted the gunmen outside the Larne house.

Police last night arrested a 30 year-old man in relation to the attack.

The attack in Brustin Brae Road, which police are linking to an ongoing feud in the town, saw masked men armed with shotguns ram a hijacked vehicle through the house's large security gates. It was then set alight during the incident in the early hours of Monday.

One of the victims, who does not wish to be named, said four shots were fired into his children's bedroom, the living room and hallway. He said they were only prevented from entering the room where the children slept by thick security glass.

The man revealed how his ex-wife, Aislinn Hassin, and children aged three, seven and 10 took refuge inside the property as he ran outside to douse the flames from the burning vehicle, and came face-to-face with the gunmen.

Describing the perpetrators as the "scum of the earth," he said his children were "still in shock" at what had happened.

"It was just after 2am, I was sleeping and my ex-wife came into the room to wake me up. She said there was a car on fire and the house was under attack," he recalled. "I ran outside in my bare feet and boxers and saw the gunmen. There were two of them, and there were flames coming out of a car which had crashed through the electric security gates and into the garage.

"There was a second car revving on the road and one gunman was running towards it.

"The other gunman was still there, and his gun must have fired all its shots into the house as it was empty, which is the only reason I am still here talking to you today.

"I shouted at him that he was cowardly, but I couldn't get by the flames of the car which was blocking the gate. They had a getaway car waiting.

"I tried to put the fire out with a big hose and fire extinguishers but I couldn't, and three fire engines came. I have burns to my hands, arms and feet."

The man says that his young children and ex-wife have been left "devastated" by the incident.

"Two bullets went into the kids' room and one lodged in the window frame, while another went through the first two panes of the three-pane toughened security glass," he said. "My family are devastated. The people who did this are the scum of the earth - how would they like it if someone did this to their kids?"

The man claimed that the UVF was behind the attack, saying that they want him "out of Larne" and that he had been "getting death threats from a young age".

"In the last death threat they said they had hired a hitman and were ready to go," he said.

"I would love to leave Larne, but the question is, where do we go? How far do you move away?"

The PSNI said a 30 year-old man was arrested in Larne yesterday evening on suspicion of attempted murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, hijacking and aggravated vehicle taking. Police simultaneously conducted two searches in the Larne area.

Detective Chief Inspector Dunny McCubbin said police had received a report just before 2am that two masked men armed with suspected shotguns had threatened the occupants of a Volkswagen Bora parked in Larne's Craigyhill area.

He added that police believe the vehicle was driven to the Brustin Brae Road house in Larne where it was set alight outside a garage before the shots were fired at the property.

The incident comes after two cars in the driveway of a property at Magee Park in Larne were set alight on Sunday morning, with the flames damaging the house.

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