Belfast Telegraph

Tearful pensioner fears for his life as race hate thugs attack his home with paint

By Sara Neill

A pensioner from Ghana wept as he told of how he fears for his life after paint was thrown over his home in a racist attack.

It happened between Saturday night and Sunday morning while Adu Kyeremateng was asleep in his Upper Townsend Terrace house, off the Shankill Road in Belfast.

Now the race hate victim wants to leave the place he calls home.

Thick white paint coated much of the 65-year-old's front door, dripping off the letterbox and onto the front step.

It was also splashed over both windows and the driveway at the front of the home.

Mr Kyeremateng, a former security worker, woke yesterday to a strong smell of paint and was horrified to discover what had been done.

"I felt very bad, very frightened, and very scared," said an emotional Mr Kyeremateng.

"I have to go to the Housing Executive to tell them I can't live in an environment of fear.

"I feel that my life has been threatened here, and I want to get out." But it could take weeks to find another place for Mr Kyeremateng to live.

In the meantime, he said he has nowhere else to go.

"I am on my own. Where can I go? There's nowhere to move to," he said. "I can't go to a hotel because that costs money. It's scary, but what can I do?

"Maybe this night they are coming with guns? I don't know," he said.

Mr Kyeremateng has lived on the street, which forms part of the mainly unionist Shankill estate, since September.

He has been in Belfast for eight years, but tearfully explained this was not the first time he was because targeted of his race.

"In October, a guy confronted me in the street and asked what I was doing here. He told me he hoped I wouldn't be here for long," he said.

"That time was very bad, but this is worse. It's horrifying.

"I don't know why a pensioner would be subjected to this treatment."

DUP councillor Brian Kingston believes Mr Kyeremateng should stay in the house.

"If he left, those responsible would feel they got what they no doubt wanted. Adu should be able to live there where he is," he said. "We are not living in a lawless anarchy where people could do this and not be brought to justice. The message must go out strongly that this sort of action will be punished."

Mr Kingston spoke out against those who carried out the attack, and added it had wide-reaching implications. "Not only has this innocent man been targeted, it's also damaging to this area of Belfast. The cowardly thugs behind this are not acting in the name of the community," he said.

Sergeant David Burn confirmed the attack was being treated as a hate crime and he appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

Background

In 2014, race hate attacks doubled on Belfast's streets, with six incidents reported every week. A dedicated police line was set up for people to easily pass on information they may have about racially-motivated attacks, and the number of officers on patrol was stepped up in flashpoints, such as south and east Belfast. The latest incident has been widely condemned among those living in the Shankill estate, and is expected to be raised at upcoming local residents' association meetings.

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