Belfast Telegraph

Disabled, cancer-battling mum's terror as home targeted in paint bomb attack

By Allan Preston

A disabled and seriously ill woman has been left terrified after a paint attack on her north Belfast home.

Sarah Evans (56), who lives alone in Ballysillan, was left in tears yesterday after waking to discover she had been targeted by vandals overnight.

It is the fourth vandalism attack on the family in the past three months.

Ms Evans suffers from chronic myeloid leukaemia, has poor eyesight and has difficulty walking.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph along with her two daughters Cherrie Dougherty (39) and Sarah Haslett (33), Ms Evans said she was now scared to be in her own home.

"Why are they doing this? It's hard enough dealing with what's wrong with me without having to deal with that," she said.

"My mummy lived in this house and she died two years ago, there's never been any trouble before.

"My neighbours have all called in today and they can't believe it."

Cherrie, who lives nearby, said her home had been attacked in the same way twice in July, with a third attack on the home of her aunt. She believes there is a deliberate campaign of intimidation against the family.

"We were given these brand new homes in this housing development, and to me there's no other reason than they want them for themselves," she said.

"It's not sectarian, it's just community intimidation. I think all the incidents are related and this is an escalation. Me and my aunt have put in CCTV cameras, so now they're looking at who else they can target, who else is vulnerable, who's next."

She added: "In July they targeted my house, and my cars have been done, my windows have been spray-painted.

"We're being terrorised by local thugs because we moved into Ballysillan and they don't seem to like it.

"They've lived here all their lives and they don't like the fact we've moved in there."

Ms Evans said the attacks started when Cherrie moved back to Ballysillan to take the pressure off Sarah, who had been her mother's sole carer. "When I saw the paint I thought 'the same ones that have targeted my daughters are after me now'," she said.

"Everyone round here knows I'm on my own.

"None of us have done anything."

Sarah said she was outraged to see her mother in such a state.

"It's infuriating when we see our mum like this, how dare they. How dare anybody.

"Her tablets really tire her out, she has unbroken sleep, and now after this she's going to be afraid to sleep."

She added: "It's just thugs, people that you live among that are doing this to an elderly, disabled woman.

"There's no excuse under the sun to be doing something like that.

"They just don't have a heart, it's getting beyond a joke now and something needs to be done."

Police have been made aware of the attacks and are to install a panic system in Ms Evans' property.

The measures include floodlights, door and window alarms.

DUP MLA for the area Nelson McCausland said: "I condemn this terrible attack. Nobody should have their property vandalised in this way.

"This attack is not representative of the hard-working people that live in this area. They do not want to see these types of incidents.

"It damages the image of the area and I condemn those who carried out this attack. I would ask anyone with any information to contact the PSNI."

Belfast Telegraph


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