UVF will not force me out, vows victim of petrol bombing
A man says he will not be intimidated after a petrol bomb was thrown at his house while he played with his 10-year-old autistic daughter.
Brian Gibson (45) and his daughter Abbie were lucky to escape uninjured after the device smashed the front window of their home at Fortuna Street, Belfast, around 12.30am yesterday.
His daughter was playing in a tent on the floor and he had his back to the window when he heard the crash.
The device smashed the first pane of double glazing but the second pane withstood the impact, preventing any serious injuries.
"It just lit the whole street up," he said.
"There was a big orange fireball and then it started coming through the sides. The firemen said if that had gone through, we'd have been dead."
The father-of-two believes that he was targeted by the UVF. He linked the incident to two attacks on his brother in nearby Sandy Row and said that his elderly parents have also been threatened.
Mr Gibson believes the attackers could see him through the window and were deliberately trying to kill him and his daughter.
He said: "The lights were on, they knew I was in and they knew I had the child. They threw it at the window, not the door."
He is angry that his daughter was targeted: "I wasn't worried about my life but when you are trying to kill my daughter, that is a different kettle of fish."
Mr Gibson said he will not be intimidated by the attack and he will stay in his south Belfast home: "I'm not going to leave. Generations of us have lived here. I'm not going anywhere."
Police believe that the person responsible may have been on a bicycle and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
Mr Gibson added: "No one heard footsteps but the neighbours saw a bike."
South Belfast Alliance MLA Anna Lo condemned the attack and said it would have been "terrifying" for the victims.
She said: "It appears to be simply luck that this attack did not lead to serious injury or even death, but it still would have been petrifying for this man and his daughter. Attacks like this create fear and hark back to a time people want to leave behind.
"No one can even attempt to justify an attack like this. The person behind this is clearly a dangerous individual.
"I would urge anyone with information about this to contact the police immediately and help ensure those behind it are apprehended by the authorities."