Couple in 70s ‘being terrorised in sectarian attack on home’

Rev William McCrea indicates the damage
Rev William McCrea indicates the damage
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A relative of two residents in their 70s has described a “sectarian” attack on their home, which saw a large stone with a message wrapped around it thrown through their window.

The stone was put through the bedroom window of the property in Parker Avenue, Castledawson, at around 2pm today.

The stone which flew through the window

The stone which flew through the window

The residents of the property, John and Gwen Stewart, are aged 79 and 78, respectively.

Daughter Denise Young said that John has secondary cancer, and Gwen has diabetes.

Mrs Young told the News Letter that the stone was wrapped in a piece of paper, which was attached with elastic bands. She said the message on the paper read: “No need for sectarianism in our village. Out or face the consequences.”

It then listed a series of names – one of whom was the couple’s grandson Steven Stewart, who is in his mid-20s and had helped with the village bonfire.

Mrs Young said: “The names on the list were ones that built the bonfire in Castledawson. There was absolutely nothing to relate that’s sectarian there.”

Meanwhile Free Presbyterian minister and former South Antrim MP William McCrea visited the home, and said that this was “a blatant sectarian attack”.

He said that around two decades or so ago, the couple had been intimidated to leave Bellaghy, along with other Protestants.

“And now they’re finding, in their latter days of life, they’re being terrorised again.”

He said they were seriously shaken by the attack.

Police said: “No one was injured during the incident, but the window was badly damaged. Enquiries are continuing and the incident is being treated as a sectarian hate crime at this stage.”

They asked for anyone with information to ring them and quote reference number 1342 12/07/19.