A 61-year-old Belfast woman who suffered horrific injuries in a sectarian attack on a bus she was travelling in as it returned from the Apprentice Boys Parade in Derry has described the ordeal as “the worst nightmare out there”.
Sandra Major told the ‘Journal’ she lost five teeth and needed 30 stitches after she was hit by a rock as the bus she was in travelled through Dungiven on its way back from Derry on Saturday. She said her teeth came through her cheek when a rock was hurled at the bus and hit her.
The attack happened at approximately 5pm as it passed through Dungiven.
“I’m feeling very tired and my face is very sore,” Sandra told the ‘Journal’. “I don’t remember what happened and maybe that is a good thing. All I do remember is seeing my hands covered in blood and everyone squealing ‘are you alright?’, and me thinking, ‘why are my hands covered in blood? When I put my hands to my face the blood was running down my face.”
Sandra said she doesn’t understand why the bus was attacked, especially since she had travelled that return route for 15 years coming from the Aprentice Boys parade and there was never any trouble before.
“We didn’t have any flags or banners. Why was our bus singled out?” she asked.
Sandra said she had received messages of support from people in Dungiven.
“To know that they are thinking about me means a lot. I don’t blame the people of Dungiven. One bad apple doesn’t destroy the whole barrel,” said Sandra.
Sandra said she will find out later this week if long term nerve damage has been caused.
“It’s terrible, the worst nightmare out there,” added Sandra.
The attack has been described as “despicable” by local PSNI Superintendent John Magill.
“Local police were deployed in Dungiven on Saturday and responded quickly to the attack on the bus. This was a quite despicable incident and we are investigating it as a sectarian hate crime. A youth was arrested and has been bailed pending further enquiry.”
Local politicians have also condemned the attack.