Miracle baby's mother tells of riot terror
A mother has spoken of her terror after glass shattered over both her and her "miracle baby" when they were caught up in rioting in north Belfast.
Sharon and Gerard Brown were driving home with their four-month-old baby sleeping in the back seat when they were targeted last Friday.
The couple told the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month how they describe Kayla as their "miracle baby" after she was finally born following nine years of fertility treatment.
Police and firefighters had come under attack from a group of youths as they attended the scene of a fire in a derelict pub close to the Oldpark Road.
They were pelted with stones and other objects. The couple were making their way back to their house at around 10.30pm with the 29-year-old mother sitting in the back of the car with Kayla.
The window was struck by an object and shattered. Sharon threw herself over her baby as both were covered in glass.
Luckily they were uninjured, but Sharon said she fears if action is not taken someone could end up being killed.
"We saw that the gangs were out throwing stones and objects and something just kicked in me to cover Kayla just before the window was smashed," she said.
"Then we just heard the bang. I was so scared."
Sharon explained little Kayla had been in a deep sleep, but the impact of the missile and the bang scared her awake.
"She started squealing and crying," she said. "I just shouted to Gerard we had to stop, that there was glass everywhere, all over her baby seat," Sharon, a manager with a finance company, explained.
"It was terrifying. We are just so lucky. I can't even think about what could have happened. Glass was all over us.
"We had to throw my clothes out and her clothes out because of all the wee shards of glass."
Sharon's sister, a nurse, checked Kayla, who luckily was unhurt.
The mother-of-one said action needed to be taken to address the problem of people throwing stones at vehicles. "This has been ongoing for some time. The police and firefighters are targeted and other people are getting caught up – it is just wrong and so dangerous.
"It really is serious. They are not going to stop until someone is seriously hurt or killed.
"My sister-in-law had her car wrecked two-and-a-half years ago. They just don't care who they are hitting. I'm afraid to drive the car on my own now – I felt lucky I was in the back with her. But if I was driving by myself and she was just in her car seat, I dare not think what would have happened."
A spokesman for the PSNI confirmed it was investigating the fire at the pub as malicious and that there were also reports of youths throwing stones at passing cars on Oldpark Road.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Tennent Street PSNI station on the non-emergency number 101. Or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Sharon and Gerard Brown tried for nine years to conceive and at one point had given up hope. But the 29-year-old fell pregnant when undergoing a cycle of ICSI – a procedure similar to IVF – and was given an infusion containing an unusual cocktail of egg yolk and soya bean oil, known as intralipid infusion therapy. Sharon gave birth to little Kayla Sarah in December 2013.