Banbridge arson attack on vulnerable man ‘case of mistaken identity’

The petrol bomb caused damage to the outside of the house
The petrol bomb caused damage to the outside of the house

A petrol bomb attack on the home of a 39-year-old Banbridge man who has a learning disability was “a case of mistaken identity”, his father has said.

William Henning was in bed at his Hillview Terrace home on Dromore Street when a petrol bomb was hurled at the front of the property in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Mr Henning wasn’t hurt in the attack, but he has been forced to move out of his home temporarily until repairs can be carried out.

His father, Evan Henning, said his son is currently back home with his family recovering from his traumatic experience.

“William was in bed at half five in the morning when the petrol bomb was lobbed at the house.

“They must’ve tried it a couple of times. The first time the window didn’t break and the second time they tried the upstairs window. It broke the window, but thankfully the petrol bomb didn’t go through and just dropped back down to the ground and caused smoke damage up the front of the house,” said Mr Henning.

“One of the taxi men in the town happened to be passing and he saw the petrol bomb burning at the front of the house and he raised the alarm immediately and the fire service and police were there within a matter minutes.

“William had obviously heard the window breaking, but then he heard the commotion outside and got up to have a look and by that stage the police and fire service were there.”

Mr Henning, who ran a butcher’s shop in the town for more than 30 years before retiring last year, said his son wasn’t injured, but had been left terrified by the attack.

“He’s OK thankfully. Obviously he was very much traumatised at the time, but he’s at home here now with us and we’re looking after him until we get the house sorted and back into some sort of liveable state again. Once we get a few things done for him at the house he’s looking forward to moving back in. He’s happy enough to go back.”

While it’s not known who was behind the attack, or the reason for it, Mr Henning said his family has received confirmation that William was not the intended target.

“We’ve been told that it was a case of mistaken identity,” he added. “William doesn’t have an enemy so there could be no reason to target him. It was just a total and absolute case of mistaken identity.”