Northern Ireland

Former Northern Ireland women's footballer fears UDA threat over Sandy Row brawl

Billie Simpson played for Northern Ireland and Cliftonville, and was once nominated for a goal of the year by Fifa. Picture, The Irish FA.
Billie Simpson played for Northern Ireland and Cliftonville, and was once nominated for a goal of the year by Fifa. Picture, The Irish FA. Billie Simpson played for Northern Ireland and Cliftonville, and was once nominated for a goal of the year by Fifa. Picture, The Irish FA.

A former Northern Ireland women’s football international has said she fears being targeted by the UDA after footage emerged of a fight after a Twelfth of July parade at Belfast's Sandy Row.

Former Cliftonville player, Billie Simpson (31) said she feared the decision of the UDA following a brawl involving multiple people where an older man was knocked unconscious beside an ambulance.

Some of those in the clip appear intoxicated, while others tend to the man on the ground.

The extent of his injuries are not known at this stage.

Camera footage showed an altercation on Sandy Row where a man was knocked unconscious.
Camera footage showed an altercation on Sandy Row where a man was knocked unconscious. Camera footage showed an altercation on Sandy Row where a man was knocked unconscious.

On Sunday, the PSNI confirmed they had arrested a 31-year-old woman following the assault on July 12.

By Monday morning, police said the woman had been released on bail to allow for further enquiries.

It is reported that Ms Simpson was working as security for the Rangers Club on Sandy Row when a fight started after a customer was refused service.

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 Having previously been shortlisted for Fifa’s goal of the year in 2019, she was reported as saying she fears a threat from the UDA.

“I’m not too sure I’m going to be put out of Sandy Row one day,” she said.

“I’ll tell my story and how they have tortured me  all my life down there.  My name was being put about on Twitter and Facebook.

 “People were tagging Northern Ireland  women and Cliftonville in it because I used to play for them," she told Sunday Life.

“I’m not too good after all this stuff I’m reading and seeing on social media. I’ve been trying to get hold of the full video.

“Apparently the UDA has a copy. I’m waiting to get the whole video from the bar and I’m waiting to hear back from the UDA if I’m under threat at the minute.

“He got in the way of two girls fighting  after one was throwing bottles.

“I was told there was a meeting on Friday night to see what the UDA were going to do, so I’m still waiting to hear back if I’m under threat or not.

“My head’s away right now until they say (there’s no) threat.”

Police have asked anyone who may have been in the area at the time and witnessed the assault, or anyone with footage who assist with the investigation, is asked to call 101, quoting reference 1494 of July 12.