16 April 2006

UVF gang force prison warder's widow out of her home

Sunday Life

Alan Murray
16 April 2006

THE widow of a prison officer has been driven from her east Belfast home by a drug-fuelled UVF unit.

The heartbroken widow was forced to abandon her home of 37 years in the Ballybeen estate in Dundonald after being threatened by a baseball bat-wielding thug.

When police responded to a 999 call, their vehicles were stoned.

A prison officer who helped the woman to move her belongings said he was "sickened" by the attack.

He said: "Here's a widow who has spent 37 years living in Ballybeen, who scattered her husband's ashes in the back garden, but who is now homeless and heartbroken.

"The thugs who did this call themselves loyalists, but they're just gangsters," he said.

Police confirmed yesterday that officers attended an incident in which a man armed with a baseball bat tried to batter his way into a woman's home.

A police vehicle was damaged and a woman officer injured.

Two days later, when two families were escorted to their homes to collect property, more stones were thrown.

Said one senior loyalist: "David Ervine has done great work in the Newtownards Road area and in other parts of east Belfast, but this crew in Ballybeen is just the pits.

"The UVF said it was ridding the Knocknagoney and Tullycarnet areas of LVF drug-dealers, but around here there are all-night parties and people are being threatened on a daily basis by the UVF men who control the area."

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