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Polish mum threatened by men with pickaxes in Belfast race hate attack

By Maria McCann

Published 08/04/2015

The victim of a race hate attack has told of the terrifying moment a gang of masked men carrying pickaxes threatened her and her teenage son at their home
The victim of a race hate attack has told of the terrifying moment a gang of masked men carrying pickaxes threatened her and her teenage son at their home

The victim of a race hate attack has told of the terrifying moment a gang of masked men carrying pickaxes threatened her and her teenage son at their home.

Maja Bukowska, who is from Poland, has been left badly shaken after her 15-year-old's bedroom window was smashed in north Belfast on Monday night.

The 34-year-old victim claims men covering their heads in T-shirts knocked doors and asked where foreigners live, before targeting her and another person's Mountcollyer Avenue home.

"It's normally very good living here and we have good neighbours, although maybe they see more foreigners moving in and don't like it.

"It is terrifying, I am not sure if we can live here now," she added.

Ms Bukowska told the Belfast Telegraph she recognised some of the men carrying out the attack.

"It is bad when a stranger does it but when it is someone you see around, it makes it even worse. We just cannot live like this," she said.

"They saw my son looking out the window and called him to come out before walking back over towards our home."

Police were reportedly called back to the scene yesterday afternoon following more reports that men were throwing stones and gathering in the area.

But Ms Bukowska said she was unhappy with the PSNI response.

"I am very upset with the police's attitude. They didn't respond for 50 minutes on Monday night and it took an hour for them to get here yesterday. It is almost like they didn't realise we were in danger," she added.

Another house in the street in which young children - including a three-month-old girl - lived also had its windows broken.

Alliance Party councillor John Blair said: "Attacks of this kind are appalling and deserve condemnation from the whole community and elected representatives."

Inspector Roy Watton said police are treating this incident as a racially motivated hate crime. He also appealed for witness to come forward.

It is the latest in a number of similar attacks in Belfast.

Last month, a Sinn Fein councillor was assaulted as she tried to defend a Polish pensioner from racist abuse on a bus.

Mary Ellen Campbell was hit on the head during the altercation on the Metro 1B travelling from the Antrim Road to the city centre.

In February 2014, a brick was thrown through the window of a home and racist graffiti daubed on the front of a house in Mountcollyer Avenue.

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