Northern Ireland news

Pregnant woman claims police failed to act over UVF verbal abuse

Laura Knox holds a picture of her unborn baby. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Connla Young

A pregnant Co Antrim woman has claimed the PSNI failed to act after members of an alleged UVF gang gathered outside her home last weekend.

Larne woman Laura Knox claims that six members of the loyalist group shouted abuse at her and her partner Bill Russell as the police looked on.

The 26-year-old, who is six months pregnant, said that officers failed to move the gang members on despite her pleas.

She claimed the gang included a local UVF commander and several other members.

The mother-of-two said members of the gang also carried out petrol and paint bomb attacks on her home last year.

She believes she has been targeted by the UVF because of her relationship with Mr Russell.

Laura Knox has claimed that police looked on as a UVF gang abused her and her partner at their home in Larne, Co Antrim, at the weekend. Picture by Hugh Russell.

In 2017 his Larne home was damaged when a car parked beside it was set alight.

He says loyalists also tried to smash their way into a house in Antrim where he had been staying.

The worried mother last night said she now intends to make a formal complaint to the Police Ombudsman.

She said that she and Mr Russell had only just returned home at around 3am on Sunday when he alleged loyalist gang and PSNI arrived.

Laura Knox holds a picture of her unborn baby. Picture by Hugh Russell.

Ms Knox believes police officers would have been aware of the gang’s alleged paramilitary links.

“The police got out and had a conversation with them for about two hours,” she said.

“One had a snood up over his face and had a hood up.”

Ms Knox claims that police failed to move the gang on.

“We said ‘they are intimidating us’ but they (PSNI) said ‘they are not doing anything criminal’,” she said.

Ms Knox said that members of the gang have told her she was going to be put out of her home.

“It was frightening especially when you are pregnant and you are defenceless,” she said.

“I was too scared to go to bed and sleep in case the police left then out there.”

PSNI Sergeant Alan Lowry said: “Officers investigating criminal damage at property in the Fairway area of Larne during the early hours of Sunday had cause to speak to a number of people gathered in the Curran Road area – none of whom were wearing masks or had their faces covered.

“Officers stayed in the area to assist in diffusing tensions and until all parties had left.”

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