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Infant in house during kitchen 'crucifixion' - neighbours

Paul Harbinson was the victim of a vicious attach which saw nails hammered into his hands

A ONE-year-old child was in the house when loyalists hammered nails into a man's hand in a horrific kitchen crucifixion in a brutal punishment-style attack.

Neighbours said the infant was inside the Florence Walk house on a loyalist estate when masked men entered and attacked the 23-year-old at on Thursday evening.

The man, names locally as Paul Harbinson, was forced into the kitchen where nails were driven into both of his hands in a brutal assault which bears all the hallmarks of a so-called paramilitary attack.

Although he grew up in the area, Mr Harbinson had only been living in the terraced house - which is overlooked by the hi-rise Mater Hospital on Crumlin Road - for around four months.

According to neighbours, there have been a steady stream of visitors to the property since then, and earlier in the evening a young woman and her small child had arrived with a travel cot, apparently to stay overnight.

The woman was not injured in the attack.

It was still light when the men entered the property shortly after 8pm through the back door.

Mr Harbinson was taken to hospital for treatment by ambulance, while forensic teams carried out an examination of the scene into the early hours of the morning.

Yesterday morning, CID detectives returned to carry out house-to-house inquiries on the street which was virtually deserted.

Red and white tasselled drapes at the front window were disturbed, but otherwise there was no sign of the violent events of the night before.

The street is adjacent to Florence Square where former UFF leader Johnny Adair arranged for his own son to be shot in a so-called punishment-style attack in 2002.

PUP leader Billy Hutchinson said attack on Mr Harbinson was "absolutely terrible".

"There can be no place whatsoever for actions like this in any community," he said.

"Regardless of the background or reason, there is no justification for carrying out such and attack, and we all hoped that actions like this had been left behind."

Detective Sergeant Keith Wilson appealed for "anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that could assist the police investigation" to contact officers at Musgrave Police Station on the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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