Targeting of young mother ‘a case of mistaken identity’

A PSNI forensics officer assesses the scene of the pipe bomb attack at Mill Street, Hilden. Pic by Pacemaker
A PSNI forensics officer assesses the scene of the pipe bomb attack at Mill Street, Hilden. Pic by Pacemaker

Police officers investigating a pipe-bomb attack in the Hilden area of Lisburn yesterday said they are “following a number of lines of inquiry”.

The PSNI was responding to claims made by a local councillor and an MLA that the victim of the attack may have been targeted due to “a case of mistaken identity”.

Two pipe-bomb-type devices detonated outside a property in Mill Street at around 2.25am, causing damage to the front of the building.

It is understood a young woman and her child were inside the property at the time, but neither suffered physical injury.

A number of homes in the area had to be evacuated during the security alert.

DUP councillor Jonathan Craig, who was at the scene of the incident early yesterday morning, believes the victim of the attack is unlikely to have been the intended target.

“There is total bewilderment as to why this young woman has been targeted and I just think it is a case of mistaken identity,” he said.

“This is a quiet residential area. This sort of activity is unheard of in the Hilden area and it’s not welcome. These people don’t represent this area, they’re not welcome in this area and we just hope and pray the police catch them, put them through the courts and put them where they belong.”

SDLP MLA Pat Catney, who lives not far from Mill Street, agreed that the young woman whose house was pipe-bombed wasn’t the intended victim.

“There is no reason whatsoever that I can tell of why this young woman and her child would be attacked like this,” he said. “This was a disgraceful attack on a settled and peaceful community.”

Asked if the attack may have been a case of mistaken identity, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police are following a number of lines of inquiry at this time.”

Also condemning the attack, UUP MLA Robbie Butler and local councillor Nicholas Trimble said those responsible had “shown a blatant disregard for human life”.

Appealing for witnesses to come forward, Chief Inspector Jonathan Wilson said: “This was an indiscriminate and reckless attack and we are extremely lucky that we are not dealing with any fatalities.

“People should be able to feel safe within their own homes, but unfortunately there are those within our community who have total disregard for the sanctity of life.”

Investigating officers can be contacted on 101, quoting reference number 86 27/02/18.