Sledgehammer thugs destroy Tigers Bay home of grieving gay man
Gay hate crime victim Paul Finlay-Dickson had just spent £1,200 decorating his new home in the loyalist Tigers Bay area of Belfast when seven masked thugs wrecked it in a late-night sledgehammer attack.
"I've lost everything" Paul said. "There was no house insurance. To get a new house and put my whole strength into it to get it decorated - and it looked perfect - and then three hours after it was finished, the house was smashed up.
"If they had found me there, I'd be dead."
Paul said he had received 10 death threats in the past and was constantly battling ill-health because he was living with Aids.
Poignantly, he had decorated the Cosgrave Heights house with wallpaper and carpets that he had chosen with his late partner Maurice, who died of cancer in January this year.
"Maurice left me £712. He'd saved it up after he stopped smoking. I topped it up with a community care grant and now it's all been destroyed."
The thugs carried out their wrecking spree in the early hours of Saturday morning, daubing Paul's newly-decorated house with graffiti.
"On either side of the door they wrote 'pedo'," Paul Said. "I'm not a paedophile. I'm a gay man."
A friend who assured Paul that he would be safe in the Tiger's Bay area had also been left "gutted", he revealed.
The hate crime victim is now too frightened of further attacks to move back into the Tigers Bay house.
For the moment, he is still living in the Woodvale property he shared with his husband Maurice - in which he has already been repeatedly targeted by homophobic vandals who pushed excrement through their letterbox.
Earlier this year, a gay rights movement rainbow flag that was to have been placed on the coffin of Mr Finlay-Dickson's deceased civil partner was covered in faeces by attackers.
Mr Finlay-Dickson revealed he had been to a meeting yesterday with senior Housing Executive officials to discuss his housing options.
Sgt Brian Caskey of the PSNI has appealed for anyone with information, or who witnessed the attacks, to contact officers at Tennent Street Police Station on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.