Belfast Telegraph

Race hate attack mum and baby flee Antrim home

By Rachel Martin

A mother and baby who narrowly escaped injury when thugs hurled a brick through a window just inches from where they slept have fled their Antrim home.

One-year-old Nadia Olivia would normally sleep alone in a cot where one of the bricks landed, but on Tuesday night her parents decided to bring her into their bed as she had been suffering from a cough.

Her father Patryk Grzechnik, a 24-year-old joiner originally from Poland, moved to Northern Ireland with his girlfriend Martyna two years ago in search of a better life.

Yesterday neighbours spoke of their anger over the attack on the family's home at Tarragon Park, branding it "wicked".

The racist thugs smashed two of the windows, throwing bricks through the kitchen window at the front of the house and the upstairs bedroom window right beside the bed where the family of three were sleeping.

Police are treating the incident - which happened at 2.20am yesterday - as a hate crime.

Mr Grzechnik told how the loud bang of the brick breaking the glass woke them up.

Shards were thrown across the bed and floor and a chunk of brick landed in the baby's cot.

He said he did not know why he had been targeted, adding that he was relieved no one had been injured.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I like it here and I like my neighbours.

"I don't know why this has happened to me.

"I think maybe because of Brexit some people don't like immigrants and they think of us because we are from Poland - but I don't know.

"My girlfriend is too scared to stay here now and she has taken Nadia with her. I will stay here, but I don't know what I will do next.

"My friends in Poland ask me why. But I like it here."

SDLP councillor Roisin Lynch was among those to visit Mr Grzechnik. She said: "The reckless thugs who smashed the windows in the home not only sought to terrorise this family, but they could have seriously injured a young child, who luckily wasn't in the cot that a brick landed in.

"Those responsible for this attack stand alone and against people in our town."

Alliance councillor Neil Kelly said: "This is an absolutely outrageous attack, carried out by a bunch of cowards who have no reason to treat others in this way."

PSNI Sergeant John Hamilton appealed for anyone with information on the incident to come forward.

They can contact Antrim police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 80 of the 12/04/17. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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