22 December 2005

Woman lives in fear after threat


by Francesca Ryan

A YOUNG West Belfast woman has spoken to the Andersonstown News of her fear after she received a death threat and a bullet in the post on Monday.

Signed by a dissident republican paramilitary group, the letter warned the 24-year-old that if she did not leave her St James' home, she would be shot dead.

“I can't believe this has happened," said the distraught mother-of-three, who asked not to be named.

“I was opening Christmas cards that had just arrived and then I opened this letter. I just felt terrified, I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot. I can't go over the door for fear of being shot and it's five days before Christmas."

The victim said claims in the letter that she was a drug dealer were “ridiculous” and added that she had no idea why she was being targeted.

“I keep myself to myself, I don't bother with anyone and have never been in trouble, yet my life is being threatened. I don't understand it, I haven't even been living here a year and am at a loss to understand what is going on.”

The woman is currently trying to relocate her family to a new home.

“I just want out of this house, I am terrified for me and my children's safety.
“The Housing Executive offered me a place in a hostel but I need a home for my family not a hostel with strangers walking in and out at all hours, my nerves wouldn't let me settle in a place like that."

The Housing Executive told the Andersonstown News that they were aware of the family's predicament and the threat that looms over them.

“The Housing Executive offered temporary hostel accommodation but this was refused.

“Should they wish to take up the offer of temporary accommodation, they should contact the Housing Executive.

“In the meantime, their application for intimidation status is currently being investigated and they will be kept fully informed of progress.”

The PSNI confirmed the death threat and told the Andersonstown News that a number items had been taken away from the house for forensic examination.

Journalist:: Francesca Ryan

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