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Pregnant mum and children fled Derry bomb blast

By Donna Deeney

Two young girls and their heavily pregnant mother were among 40 people forced to flee their homes in Londonderry after a pipe bomb exploded in a neighbour's garden.

The device was left at a house at Erne Gardens in Irish Street where two men and a woman have been living since last November.

Although the device partially exploded, no one inside the house was hurt.

It has been removed for further examination.

John Lynch, who lives on the same street, told the Belfast Telegraph that his two daughters, aged five and seven, have been badly traumatised by the experience.

He said: "Our girls were in bed and my wife and me were getting ready to go to bed when we heard this almighty bang.

"We came outside, the whole street came out, and we realised something had been thrown at this house.

"My two girls, who are just five and seven, woke up crying and my wife is eight-and-a-half months pregnant and they were badly traumatised by the whole thing.

"The police were called and we called our local DUP councillors who were here a good half hour before the police.

"One of the things we were most worried about is the bomb was lying beside the gas pipeline that goes into that house.

"We were told to go inside but about 15 minutes later the police told us we had to evacuate.

"We went to the centre but then we were told we would be out all night so I had to move my family over to my brother's house.

"My girls didn't want to come back home. They are still shaking from what happened and my wife could very easily have gone into labour."

DUP councillor Drew Thompson, who was at the scene on Wednesday night, said there were a lot of vulnerable people frightened by the incident.

He said: "We arrived at the scene around 10.30pm and once we realised how serious the situation was, we arranged for the local community centre to be opened so that people had somewhere to go.

"Around 40 people in total were evacuated including elderly and very young who had to be taken from their beds. While I didn't get a chance to speak to the people who were inside the house targeted, because they remained indoors until the police arrived, I can say there is no justification for leaving a device like this in a residential area and no place for violence in society."

Police are appealing to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity or vehicles in the area, or anyone who has information about the incident, to contact detectives at Strand Road on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1235 25/01/17.

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