Belfast Telegraph

Belfast mother's anger as police take six hours to respond to bomb report

By Brett Campbell

A Belfast woman wept yesterday as she questioned why it took police six hours to respond to a report of a suspicious device left outside her home.

The badly shaken woman, who lives in Fortwilliam Parade in the north of the city with her teenage daughter, heard a loud bang at 11pm on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning she was horrified to discover an object resembling a pipe bomb on her doorstep.

She reported the device - which had a wire attached - at 8.28am, but officers didn't arrive on the scene until 2.30pm. Speaking outside the family home, the woman pointed to the spot where the suspect device had been lying. Still visibly shaken, she wept as she said that her daughter had walked past the object and could have been killed had it been a bomb and exploded. Dozens of residents were evacuated from their homes and the bomb squad was called in after police examined the suspect device.

However, it was subsequently declared an "elaborate hoax".

Speaking on Radio Ulster yesterday, the woman's ex-husband and father of their 13-year-old daughter expressed disgust that police took so long to respond.

Demanding an explanation, he said: "If it had been a real device, what would have happened?"

Neighbours also expressed outrage that the call to police did not receive a quicker response.

"It's an absolute disgrace," one resident said. "I was out sitting in the front garden for most of the morning while a potential bomb was lying just yards away from me the whole time - it is even more shocking that the police were aware of it."

Another neighbour, who was initially impressed by the police response, said she was "horrified" to discover they arrived six hours after the report.

In a statement, PSNI Chief Inspector Helen Garrett said police are "currently reviewing" how the initial report was dealt with.

Last night a spokesperson for the Police Ombudsman said a complaint has been received and the office is "now making enquiries".

Belfast Telegraph

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