Belfast Telegraph

Lucky escape for Carrick residents as 'viable device' fails to detonate outside home

By Victoria Leonard

A community group member who saw a viable explosive device "go off like a firecracker" outside his Carrickfergus property has said he "won't be intimidated" out of his home of 25 years.

The man, a member of Oakfield Community Group, was watching TV in the living room of his Marshallstown Mews home in the Glenfield estate at around 10.30pm on Saturday night, and initially thought the bang he heard was from a nearby fireworks display.

He said he then witnessed "a flash" and saw the device "go off like a fountain of sparks".

Police are appealing for witnesses, and said a controlled explosion had been carried out on the object which, they continued, was "outside the front door but had not detonated".

They added that it was "later declared a viable device".

The PSNI described the incident as a "reckless attack in a residential area" which "could have caused serious injury or even death" had the device exploded. The incident resulted in a number of homes being evacuated.

The householder, who was the only person in the property at the time of the incident, was unhurt but said he has been left feeling shocked and angry.

"I was sitting in my living room literally five feet away from the device," he said.

"I had heard bangs from a nearby fireworks display.

"I didn't even notice the device until I saw the flash go off out the front. It went off like a fountain of sparks, like a firecracker."

He continued: "It's a shock. If these guys aren't caught someone is going to end up dead.

"They had to evacuate the whole street. I was out of my house until around 4am.

"No damage has been done, I was lucky.

"There are a lot of families on this estate, which makes it worse. I shudder to think what could have happened if a child had been near there."

The resident said Oakfield Community Group had been set up in June to tackle all issues on the estate, including criminality.

"The community feeling is anger, frustration, wondering what's going on and what's going to get done about it," he continued.

"We can't turn a blind eye - someone is going to end up being seriously hurt.

"I won't be intimidated out of my own home."

A mum-of-five in a neighbouring house said she and her children were going to bed when police called at their house to warn them about the device.

"Police knocked on my door at around 10.30pm to tell me they were dealing with something out the front, that they had it under control," she said.

"My kids are 16, 15, 13, 11 and nine. An hour later the policeman said they wanted us to move out for safety. It wasn't until about 4am we were allowed back.

"It's scary now knowing it was viable, and it makes you angry that someone would do that in a street with lots of kids. I feel a bit on edge in my home now."

PSNI Chief Inspector Simon Ball said: "A number of roads in the area were closed and residents had to be evacuated from their homes for a time, causing significant disruption to our local community. I would like to thank the community and local residents for their patience while we worked to keep people safe."

Anyone with information can contact police on 101, quoting reference 1617 of 25/8/18.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph

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