Anger as parents of Catholic PSNI officer targeted with hoax device
A senior PSNI officer in Londonderry has slammed the "cowardly thugs" who left an elaborate device at the home of the parents of a Catholic officer.
Army technical officers were called to the Shantallow area yesterday morning where a device resembling a pipe bomb had been discovered.
The couple have had their home in Drumleck Drive attacked several times since 2009.
Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said it was "shameful" that this family was being needlessly targeted.
He said those responsible had no thought for the impact their actions are having on a couple who had lived there all their lives.
"The fact this device was an elaborate hoax does not diminish the fear and disruption it has caused," he said.
"While those responsible think the fact this couple are parents of a serving officer somehow justifies their actions, I have no doubt the rest of the community will rally behind this family and show them support and kindness.
"This couple have much to be proud of - just last weekend their son was on duty with colleagues assisting a vulnerable person at the bridge. We will continue to offer support to our officer and his family and the investigation into who was responsible for the hoax will continue.
"What were those who made this hoax device doing to serve their community? That's the challenge that needs to be thrown back at these people."
Chief Insp Hutton said that the impact of the incident was much wider than the family of this officer.
He said: "It also affected the neighbours who had to leave their homes because it wasn't clear at that stage if it was safe to stay.
"It disrupted the lives of people trying to get ready for a day's work or do the school run."
Chief Insp Hutton appealed for information on the hoax bomb.
He said: "Send a message that these types of actions should be consigned to history and that the community here in the city are committed to looking forward positively and living together peacefully."
Among those evacuated from her home was a long-term neighbour of the couple.
She said: "It is just disgusting that we can't get peace to live here without these stupid idiots thinking they are somehow freeing Ireland by leaving devices, real or not, at this couple's home.
"They are an older couple and it does take a toll on them every time this happens.
"It's hateful for us all having to gather stuff up in the morning not knowing if you will be back home in a few hours or if you will be away all day.
"The ones that do this don't care about anybody, they can't see the fear and disruption they force on all of us, or maybe they do and they just don't care."