Police defend handling of Derry incidents

Image caption A community worker says the Creggan estate was on lockdown following the incidents

Police in Londonderry have defended their handling of a number of incidents that followed the funeral of a teenager Caoimhin Cassidy Crossan.

The 18-year-old's body was found inside a burning car in the early hours of 1 June.

He was buried at St Mary's Church in Creggan on Friday.

Police believe a paramilitary style assault and an attack on a house are linked to a car being driven erratically following the funeral.

Community worker George McGowan, director of the Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre in Creggan, said the area had been in lockdown.

He said Creggan was being held to ransom by those involved.

"I did not see any police response at all in Creggan, there are questions that need answers," he said.

PSNI Chief Inspector Johnny Hunter told BBC Radio Foyle their response to the incidents on Friday was a difficult balancing act.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Caoimhin Cassidy had not been seriously injured in the crash, police have said.

He said police were aware of concerns ahead of the teenager's funeral and extra resources were deployed.

"We did have an operation in the Creggan, very much focused on the periphery of the Creggan.

"We had to balance the fact that there is a funeral ongoing but we also have to think about what the consequences of our actions are or what they could be."

On Saturday police appealed to community leaders in Londonderry to use their influence to ensure "calm" in the city.

They said all of the incidents happened within a 24-hour period and are believed to be linked.

The first incident occurred on Friday afternoon at around 13:00 BST and involved a silver Ford Focus being driven erratically in the vicinity of the City Cemetery in the Creggan area.

On Friday evening, at approximately 17:00 BST, police on patrol came across a teenage boy lying on the grass in the Hollyhall Road area.

He had sustained puncture-type wounds to both of his shins and was taken to hospital for treatment.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the police received a report of criminal damage after a number of masked men smashed the windows of a property in Culdaff Gardens at around 00:30.

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