Northern Ireland

Castledawson: Attack on house 'sectarian hate crime'

Boulder Image copyright Family
Image caption A boulder was thrown through the window of the house in Castledawson

A woman whose elderly parents' home was attacked in a suspected sectarian hate crime has said they were an "easy target".

A boulder was thrown through the front window of the house in Parker Avenue on Friday afternoon.

No-one was injured in the attack, which happened at about 14:45 BST.

Denise Young said her parents, aged 78 and 79, are invalids - her mother is unable to leave the house, while her father has been diagnosed with cancer.

"Their granddaughter and great-granddaughter had just come into their home this afternoon, when they heard a massive bang," she said

"A boulder had been thrown through the bedroom window.

"We think their house was targeted as there's a large wall in front of it and so those who attacked it couldn't be seen from the house.

"They were an easy target."

'Broken my heart'

Ms Young said the couple are Protestants who had lived in Castledawson for more than 20 years with "no bother from anyone".

She added: "We've had Catholic neighbours coming round this evening to say how sorry they are.

"It was traumatic, and I can't leave my parents alone tonight because of the way they're feeling.

"It has broken my heart and I don't think we'll see sleep tonight."

The DUP's Rev William McCrea described it as "a brutal sectarian attack".

"This afternoon in broad daylight the elderly couple were at home and a boulder was thrown through their bedroom window," he said.

"They're an elderly and frail couple and are really shaken by this."

Police have appealed for information.

"Enquiries are continuing and the incident is being treated as a sectarian hate crime at this stage," a spokesman said.