Northern Ireland news

CCTV capturing 'Santa' gun attack raises questions about lack of arrests

A gunman dressed in Santa suit fires a number of bullets at the Richmond home in Dermott Hill Parade in west Belfast.

CHILLING CCTV footage has emerged of a man dressed in a Santa suit armed with two handguns firing recklessly at a west Belfast family home.

The footage, filmed on December 20, shows the man firing up to 12 shots at the Dermott Hill home of George Richmond.

The family spent Christmas with relatives after the gun attack but on New Year's Eve masked thugs smashed every window in the house with a sledgehammer, returning two days later to set fire to the empty property.

The blaze resulted in neighbours having to be evacuated for their own safety.

A forensic officer at the scene of an arson attack on the Richmond home in Dermott Hill Parade in west Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.

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Richmond family leaves their home

The family has asked why there have been no arrests despite three attacks on the house in less than a fortnight, as well as a separate gun attack on Mr Richmond's daughter's apartment in nearby Upper Springfield.

On Wednesday Mr Richmond boarded up his damaged property and appealed to those targetting his family to give them space to move out.

George Richmond at his damaged home in Dermott Hill.

However, yesterday the house was broke into, doused it in petrol and set alight.

"Some of those I believe are responsible live close by, they would have seen me boarding up the house and leaving, they couldn't even let us leave in peace to move out", said Mr Richmond.

"The police knew we're under threat and our property was at risk and yet we've had a gun, sledgehammer and arson attack within less than two weeks and not a single arrest.

"That those with connections can stitch people up, blacken their names and attack family homes without fear, makes you wonder what has gone so wrong."

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People Before Profit (PBP) councillor Matt Collins said he condemned "these horrible and reckless actions. Attacks like these attacks bring nothing but pain and misery onto our community".

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood added: "These frightening attacks by sinister elements are despicable and have forced a family from their home. Nobody has the right to attack a family home in such a brutal way."

Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan said: "Whatever grievances people have with the Richmond family, there are many ways to deal with it than resorting to bringings weapons on to the street and burning people's homes."

PSNI Detective Sergeant McPhillips said: "Everyone has a right to live in a safe and stable community and this type of senseless and reckless criminality will not be tolerated.

"Those living in the local area who have any information should bring it to police immediately so that we can bring the perpetrators to justice."

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