Northern Ireland

Loyalists blamed for sectarian attacks on four homes in Co Derry

Police are treating the attack on the properties as sectarian
Police are treating the attack on the properties as sectarian

FOUR houses where Catholics live have been targeted in sectarian attacks in Co Derry.

The properties were attacked at around 11.50pm in the mainly unionist village of Culnady, near Maghera, on Wednesday.

Front living room windows in the houses were smashed and the doors of three homes damaged during the attack, which police believe was sectarian.

The windows of a car parked outside one of the properties were also broken.

Police say three masked men, one carrying a large stick, were involved.

The attackers made off on foot before getting into a white Vauxhall Cavalier and driving off towards Gulladuff.

While no-one was injured, one woman was taken to hospital as a precaution.

A police spokesman said a young child was asleep in one of the houses when the attack took place and described the incident as "a frightening experience".

"Your home is where you should feel safe and this was a shocking attack," the spokesman said.

"We are treating this as a sectarian hate crime and are appealing for your help in our investigation."

SDLP councillor Martin Kearney said: "It must have been a very frightening experience for these four families.

"To see so many windows boarded up and a vehicle damaged is completely unacceptable in this small rural village."

"I appeal for any information, however insignificant, to be forwarded to the PSNI."

Sinn Féin councillor Sean McPeake blamed the attack on loyalists.

"I would call on the perpetrators to publicly state as to why these attacks occurred and to justify their actions," he wrote on Facebook.

"This was an appalling and frightening experience for innocent families of which there can be no justification whatsoever."