Catholic family forced out of home
A Catholic mother of three has been forced out of her Newtownards home after escaping unhurt from the fourth attack on the property in recent weeks.
The latest incident at Lenamore Park, on Saturday at around 7.20pm, is being treated by police as a hate crime.
Janette Nelson was talking to neighbours at the back of the property when flammable liquid was poured through the letter box of the house and set alight.
The single mother and her children have been staying with relatives since the house was set on fire during a previous arson attack just over a week ago.
She had only returned to the property to gather up some personal items.
She managed to extinguish Saturday evening’s fire and escaped unhurt. Minor scorch damage was caused to the door.
Her children, a two-year-old boy and girls, aged seven and 12, were not at home this time.
Janette’s sister Lizzie McInerney says the family is distraught.
“She’s terrified,” the victim’s sister said. “They are trying to kill her for reasons we don’t understand.”
Ms McInerney added: “The kids are absolutely heartbroken…[they are having] nightmares, crying all the time.
“It’s something that kids that age don’t need to experience.”
When asked about the future, she said the family would have to “move out, move away from it.”
Ms McInerney said although her sister did not want to leave, “she has to.”
Alliance councillor Linda Cleland described the latest attack as “attempted murder.”
“This is not acceptable.
“These people are now living in fear, you know, they can’t stay in a place that they have loved and enjoyed for five years.”
The councillor told UTV that she is doing everything in her power to get the Nelsons rehoused.
Their home was last targeted just over a week ago. The family of four was in the house when the arson attack took place.
Ms Nelson managed to pass her children out through an upstairs window to a neighbour who had climbed up onto an adjoining roof of their burning house.
They were left badly shaken but not hurt.
A 32-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of intimidation in relation to that incident was released on police bail.
Previously, sectarian graffiti was painted on the walls, windows were smashed and a car was damaged.