Officer targeted was ‘a father and a devoted family man’

The scene of the security alert at Ardnalee in Culmore, Londonderry on Wednesday, where a bomb exploded outside a police officer's home. PACEMAKER

The scene of the security alert at Ardnalee in Culmore, Londonderry on Wednesday, where a bomb exploded outside a police officer's home. PACEMAKER

The police officer targeted by “violent dissident republicans” in Londonderry on Wednesday was a father, the PSNI has confirmed.

The police also confirmed the type of device that exploded when touched by a robot deployed by bomb disposal experts - an ‘Under Vehicle Improvised Explosive Device’.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey highlighted the extreme danger such a device poses as he spoke about the terrifying possibility that the targeted officer’s children might have been caught up in any exlosion.

He said it was “extremely lucky” that no one was hurt in the bomb attack as he thanked residents for their patience during the operation to make the area safe.

He said: “The investigation is still at an early stage but I can confirm that the device was an Under Vehicle Improvised Explosive Device (UVIED).

“These are designed to kill and seriously injure people so I want to be absolutely clear that this device would have had devastating consequences if it had exploded with our colleague and his family in the car.”

He continued: “The violent dissident republicans who carried out this attack intended to kill him. They didn’t care that his children or partner could also have been in the vehicle with him.

“He is not just a police officer in a uniform – he is also a father, a brother and a devoted family man who puts on his uniform every day to serve the local community that he is a part of.

“It was extremely lucky that no-one was hurt and reinforces the fact that this small group of people have no regard for the safety of the local community or indeed the wishes of the vast majority of local people who want to live in a safe and peaceful society.”

“I would like to thank residents living in Ardanlee and all those affected by the security alert for their patience and understanding while we carried out our work.”

Detectives are also appealing for information about the attack: “The investigation is progressing and I would like to hear from anyone who saw any unusual vehicles or people acting suspiciously in the Ardanlee area between 5pm on Tuesday (21st) and 7am on Wednesday (22nd),” added DCI Harvey.

Anyone with information should contact detectives at Strand Road on 101 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to provide details anonymously.