Northern Ireland news

I fear UVF will kill me says mum held at gunpoint with baby

Men who identified themselves as the Shankill Road UVF held a mother and her one-year-old baby at gunpoint

A MOTHER held at gunpoint with her one-year-old daughter by men claiming to be from the Shankill UVF says she feels her life is under threat.

The woman, in her twenties, told police she could identify at least two of the men who entered her house at Mountjoy Street, off west Belfast’s Shankill Road, just before 10pm on Thursday and pointed a gun at her and her baby.

However, said she first wanted assurances that she would be safe to do so.

The woman said she also contacted a publicly funded loyalist restorative justice group on Friday to seek assurance she would be safe to give police the loyalists’ names but had not received a response by Friday night.

Up to five men, some armed with metal bars, held the woman, her baby and her partner in the house for around five minutes, telling them: “Leave the Shankill or else.”

Despite her reporting the paramilitary intimidation, police released a statement to the media saying they were investigating an “aggravated burglary”.

Asked if they were investigating paramilitary involvement, a spokesman said only that they were keeping all lines of investigation open.

The victim, originally from east Belfast, said she was sitting in the living room when the men walked in.

“The front door was closed but not locked so they just walked in and said: ‘We’re the Shankill Road UVF.’

“The last one in pointed a gun at me and my daughter. He told me not to move. My daughter was as traumatised as I was. She was screaming.

“The other men went into the kitchen and held a gun to my partner’s head.

“I’m really fearful for my life. I don’t think the police are doing enough to protect us and I don’t think that loyalist community workers are doing enough to protect me and my daughter.

“There was no robbery reported. It was intimidation, I’ve been told I need a police escort just to go back for my belongings.”

Detective Sergeant Gardiner said police were seeking information about an "aggravated burglary".

"It is not believed that anything was taken during the incident and although no-one was injured, the occupants were left badly shaken," the officer said.

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