A Londonderry councillor has told of the deep trauma experienced by a woman whose home was targeted in a suspected sectarian hate crime in the city.
SDLP councillor Gerard Diver spoke out after visiting the woman in her 20s whose front window was smashed in a pipe bomb attack on Saturday night.
The explosion happened at her home in the Lincoln Court area of the city at around 10.10pm.
The PSNI said it is believed the pipe bomb was left on a windowsill.
The young woman was in the house at the time, but was not physically injured.
“I would condemn outright this disgraceful attack on a person living in the Waterside,” said Mr Diver.
“I understand the police are following a few different lines of inquiry, but what is very clear is that the incident was motivated by hate.
“I was speaking to the victim and it is a terrible incident.
“I just felt desperately sorry for her as I have been in this situation myself as my own house was bombed about 14 years ago and it is not a nice thing for you or your family to go through.”
Mr Diver said that even if the person targeted is not physically harmed, “the trauma of that stays with you especially when you hear a noise during the night and you think they are back again to do more harm”.
DUP alderman Drew Thompson said: “I have been up at the scene but I was kept outside the police cordon.
“I know five or six people were evacuated during the incident and stayed in a local community centre.
“I was talking to some of the residents and they cannot understand what the motive is.
“These types of things have to be condemned outright as there is no room for this in society any more no matter who planted it.
“It was an unfortunate thing to happen to someone living on their own – and could scare the people living around her in the wee cul-de-sac where there are a number of bungalows. There is no justification for this.”
Five homes in the area were evacuated while bomb disposal teams examined the remnants of the explosive and declared the street safe.
Detective Inspector Stewart said: “We are lucky that no one was injured by this device, or by the window smashing.
“This is being treated as a sectarian hate crime.”
Meanwhile, in Rathfriland, Co Down, the slogan ‘No Surrender’, along with a sectarian acronym, was painted at Barnmeen Parochial House at the weekend. Police are investigating.