Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents accused of repeated attacks as couple quit house after 30 years

George Richmond outside his house which was attacked
George Richmond outside his house which was attacked
Damage at the Belfast home of the Richmonds
Damage at the Belfast home of the Richmonds
Georgina Richmond
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A west Belfast couple have said they have been left with no option but to leave their home of 30 years following a string of attacks, which they are blaming on dissident republicans.

George Richmond (59) and his wife Geraldine (57) said they were heartbroken after their home on Dermott Hill Parade was targeted again on Monday.

A CCTV camera was smashed using a sledgehammer along with all the downstairs windows and door panes, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

On December 20, 12 shots were fired at the house by a man wearing a Santa suit, which followed an earlier gun attack in September 17. The couple were forced to flee their home and spend Christmas with relatives, but have now said they will be leaving the area permanently.

The nearby home of their daughter Georgina (33), a former contestant on the TV show The Voice of Ireland, was also targeted this week.

Shots were fired at the front of her third-floor apartment on the Upper Springfield Road area during the early hours of Tuesday.

Neither Ms Richmond or her 10-year-old daughter were in the property at the time.

The mother-of-one narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the hit RTE show back in 2016 and now works as a Patsy Cline tribute artist.

Her father George believes dissident republicans are behind the attacks on his family.

Mr Richmond told the Belfast Telegraph: "This harassment has been going on since April 2017.

"In that time we have lost four cars which have been burned out in arson attacks. It has ramped up now with repeated attacks on our house.

"We don't know why we are being targeted repeatedly, but I would urge these faceless people who are responsible to make a statement and explain their actions.

"The police are looking into it all but no-one has heard or seen anything. We have been left on our own with no support from local representatives. Not a single politician has come to us to see if we are okay or offering to help and it's too late now."

Mr Richmond said he and his wife of 35 years were devastated to be leaving their home after three decades, but believed they had to get out for their own safety.

"We have no option now but to board the place up and get out, which is heartbreaking, but we feel we have no other choice except to go," he added.

"We just can't live here among these people any more knowing that they have attacked us. We are going so I hope they will let us go.

"They have deprived us of our whole life so we are going to sell our house and move on, out of Belfast.

"We feel distanced from the house now and it's just become a cold shadow of itself.

"My daughter has a young child who is absolutely petrified by what is happening, and they are leaving the area too."

Detectives who are investigating the latest attacks are appealing for information on 101, quoting reference number 231 1/1/19 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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