Loyalist paramilitaries are believed to have been behind the attacks and intimidation, court hears.
A widow whose house in Belfast was burned down as part of a suspected race-hate campaign has won a legal battle against being denied the chance to sell it through an emergency scheme.
The High Court quashed a decision to refuse to buy the woman’s bungalow and directed the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to reconsider her application.
The woman, who cannot be identified, claims the property was at one stage destroyed by arsonists and repeatedly vandalised because her late husband was a foreign national.
Loyalist paramilitaries are believed to have been behind the attacks and intimidation, the court heard.
Lawyers for the woman said the house was also burgled, with £6,000 worth of items stolen, windows were smashed, and subjected to dumping at the front door.
The campaign was due to the nationality of her husband, it was contended, with a neighbour allegedly stating that he “didn’t want P**** living next door”.
In 2013, the property was burned down and had to be rebuilt.
The woman, whose husband died in 2016, also has another house in Co Down.
In 2019 she applied to the Housing Executive to buy her Belfast property under the Scheme for the Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings (SPED).
SPED allows the authorities to buy homes from those unable to continue living in them due to acts of violence, threats or intimidation.
One of the conditions is that the house must be owner-occupied and the applicant’s only or principal home.
The Housing Executive refused her application on the basis that she failed to meet that criteria.
An official involved in the decision identified a lack of evidence that the bungalow was ever her principal home.
But the woman stated she intended to move into it in July 2015, only to vacate it three days later following a further attack.
Ruling on her bid to judicially review the Housing Executive, Mr Justice Colton held that if she had left the premises due to intimidation she met the criteria.
He accepted that the woman’s evidence was “problematic”, but concluded there was an error in the decision-making process.
The judge confirmed: “The court is sufficiently concerned about this error to persuade it to exercise its discretion and quash the decision of August 30, 2019.
“The court directs that the matter be reconsidered by a different decision-maker, to determine whether or not the applicant meets the criteria.”