Terrified mum forced to flee Coleraine home as alleged attacker freed on bail by police
A mother-of-two who was stabbed in a vicious assault by a man who she says had previously threatened to kill her has been forced to flee her home after police released her alleged attacker on bail.
Lisa Dobbin said she was too terrified to remain in her Coleraine home knowing the intruder who forced his way into the property and stabbed her in the stomach as she tried to fight him off is roaming free.
The 48-year-old spent two days in hospital and requires daily medical treatment after the attack, which doctors said she was lucky to survive as the puncture wound was dangerously close to her liver.
Her 54-year-old sister Wendy Fleming was also injured when the man forced his way into the house last month.
Ms Dobbin, whose teenage daughter was home at the time of the attack, said that a few weeks before she was stabbed she had been granted an injunction against the man on grounds of harassment.
She also claimed police had previously warned her that he had been overheard making a death threat against her.
"I only knew this man to see, but he made my life a misery by constantly contacting the Housing Executive, the police, the dog warden, anybody he could think of, to make false accusations about me. Police even arrived at my house one day to warn me that he had made a threat against me to the Housing Executive. I was terrified," she said.
Ms Dobbin said she took out an injunction against the man last month barring him from making any contact with her.
"I thought that would put a stop to it all, but then it got worse," she said.
"I was sitting in the living room of my house with my sister last Saturday afternoon (September 26) when he came up to my window and started trying to pull it open and was shouting at me. My sister went to the front door to tell him to go away. He grabbed my sister and kicked her up and down the street.
"I ran out into the hallway and he grabbed me by the hair and started pulling me around. He was just like a wild animal.
"I ran back into the living room and that's when I saw all the blood on my T-shirt.
"I lifted up my top and saw that I had been stabbed. There was blood everywhere.
"We called the police and when they arrived they immediately called an ambulance for me. I was in hospital for two nights. The doctors said I was lucky to be alive as whatever he had stabbed me with had just missed my liver."
Ms Dobbin said that she only found out through a member of the public on Thursday that her alleged attacker had not been charged and was on police bail pending further enquiries.
"I can't believe after what he did to me he is out walking the streets. I can't go back to my house, I am too frightened, so we are staying with my sister.
"We are petrified of coming across him in the street. It terrifies me to think that he might try to finish off the job. I am convinced he wanted to kill me."
Ms Dobbin has complained to the Police Ombudsman about the PSNI handling of the case. She claimed officers failed to deal with a complaint of harassment she made against the man prior to the attack.
She also alleged that police failed to properly investigate the attack. Ms Dobbin claimed that although she reported the stabbing immediately to police, the suspect was not arrested for three hours.
She alleged that officers failed to gather any forensic evidence from her home and did not take any witness statements.
A complaint has also been made that the officer in charge repeatedly failed to update her about the investigation, despite numerous phone calls over several days by Ms Dobbin for information. She claimed a member of the public had to update her about the investigation five days after the attack.
In a statement the PSNI said: "If anyone has a complaint to make about the actions of police they can contact the Police Ombudsman's office."