Catholic toddler 'traumatised' after hammer attack on home
'I can’t help that the girl I love is a Catholic...we just want to live in peace'
The parents of a toddler who was injured after a gang of thugs armed with hammers attacked their home have described how she has been left traumatised.
Little Alisha McAllister suffered a cut arm when the house at Derwent Street in east Belfast was targeted by around 15 masked men.
Police are treating the attack as sectarian.
The incident happened around 8pm on Monday when two-year-old Alisha was at home with her father, Chris Smallwood.
His pregnant girlfriend, Stacey McAllister, heard the terrifying attack on her mobile phone.
Mr Smallwood, who is a Protestant, believes the family was singled out because his girlfriend is Catholic.
“I just want them to leave us alone,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I can’t help that the girl I love is a Catholic. I have a child to her, there is another one on the way, we just want to live in peace.” Mr Smallwood (25) described how he was sitting with his daughter when the gang arrived.
“They all came into the garden, lined up at the front window and pelted the house with bricks. We have double-glazing but they still managed to put them right through,” he added.
“One of the guys put his head through the window and shouted I was a ‘Fenian-loving b******’ and had 24 hours to get out.”
Mr Smallwood said Alisha has been left traumatised by the incident. “She got a cut to her arm and is just in total shock,” he added.
“I’ve no idea what effect it will have on her. I hope it isn’t too bad and she won’t remember it for too long.”
Miss McAllister, who is 19 and over five months’ pregnant, was visiting her mother and listened on the phone as the attack unfolded.
“I heard everything,” she said. “I didn’t know what was happening, I was just thinking the worst, thinking he was getting a bad beating. I was really concerned about Alisha. The glass went everywhere — into her hair and all.”
Mr Smallwood said he was grateful the thugs did not attack him in front of his daughter.
“I’m just thankful they didn’t come in and beat me with hammers,” he added. “Who do these people think they are?”
He said the family would not return to their Derwent Street home.
Yesterday people living in the area spoke of their shock and anger at the attack.
Sarah Thompson, one of several elderly residents in the neighbourhood, said it caused distress in the community.
“You get annoyed when this type of thing happens,” she said.
“A lot of senior citizens live nearby and to have the like of that coming into your area is just not right.”
Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 0845 600 8000.