Belfast Telegraph

Wheelchair mum's terror as thugs attack Belfast house

By Claire McNeilly

A wheelchair-bound mother-of-four has said she fears for her family's lives after her house was attacked by heartless thugs four days before Christmas.

Sandra Bloomer (44), who suffers from severe anxiety, was at home with her 15-year-old son Reece when bricks and paint bombs were thrown into the living room of the property at Sandy Row in south Belfast.

Police confirmed that criminal damage was caused to the house in the Blythe Street area in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Sandra described the horrifying moment just before 2am yesterday when she thought they were both going to die.

"I heard a loud bang," she said.

"I was in bed and my son Reece, who was in his room upstairs, ran down to see what had happened. He came back up and said 'Mummy, they've done the house'.

"I went down on the stair-lift and I couldn't bring myself to go outside ... when I opened the living room door I saw glass and paint everywhere. It was freezing."

"Some of the glass had actually knocked a wee snowman off the window when they threw the bricks at it.

"The paint was plastered up the glass of the other window and it was all over the ground."

She added: "I'm really scared. I fear for my life and my family's lives.

"I don't bother anybody. I don't understand why they are doing this to me. I just want the people who did this to leave us alone."

Sandra has four boys - Stephen (28) and 25-year-old Mark, who both live elsewhere, while Billy (21) and Reece, who is 15, live with her in south Belfast.

Through tears, she said the dreadful ordeal has left her panicked and afraid.

"Mark has congenital heart disease and he had to move out of the house after it was attacked last year when he was here alone," she added.

Sandra - who says she doesn't leave the house very often - has to use a wheelchair, crutches or a Zimmer frame to move around, because she suffers from severe back problems and paralysis in her left leg.

She revealed that she has fallen over at home several times and is not allowed to leave the property on her own.

She also said that other problems mean she will need a catheter for the rest of her life.

Inspector John Sayers of the PSNI issued an appeal for information following the attack.

"Shortly after 2am police received a report that a window had been broken by a brick and paint thrown at the front of the property," he said.

"No-one was injured during this incident.

"We would appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area or anyone who has information about the incident to contact police at Lisburn Road on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 107 22/12/16.

"Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Sandra's long-term partner Stephen Gibson, who is her carer, wasn't at home when the house was attacked because he was out celebrating his 45th birthday with friends.

"It's four days before Christmas and they're attacking us; what are they going to do to us next?" he said.

It is understood that police are currently investigating all lines of enquiry.

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