A Derry couple have said they have no choice but to leave their home after being subjected to a year-long campaign of intimidation and attacks.
Ciaron McCloskey and Annette McCool said that the latest attack at their Liscloon Drive home in Shantallow at the weekend was the last straw.
The couple said they have been so worried of late about their family’s safety that they have moved their young daughter into their room to sleep, but can now take no more.
Annette (31) was born and raised in the immediate area and said the couple had been happy in their home until difficulties started last summer when a gang of men caused a disturbance at her child’s swimming pool to the front of their home.
The couple said that since then, the family and had been subjected to a string of attacks, the most serious of which they have reported to police.
A rusted wood chisel and bricks were among the items used in the latest episode to smash window panes in their living room in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Ciaron (43) described this as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
The couple described how they had been out with a couple of friends playing pool in the city centre on Saturday night and returned home in a taxi and went to bed just 20 minutes before the attack started.
“It was three minutes past 3am- bang, bang, bang, crash,” Annette said.
“They’re shouting abuse all the time,” Ciaron added.
“On Friday we were walking down there with the wain on her bike.
“She’s learning to go on her bike and they were roaring abuse after us, even in front of the wain.
“They have no morals and they are just vermin, absolute vermin.
“We were sitting yesterday in my mother’s house because we couldn’t sit down here and I said, we have to go public with this.”
Pointing to a list of police reference numbers regarding some of the incidents, Ciaron added: “There is nine incidents, windows getting put through, fences wrecked, gates smashed.”
Annette said they have never had any bother in the area up until last summer.
“I have lived here all my life and I know everybody that has been here a long time.
“I have actually taken the wain now in beside me because I’m afraid, just in case.
“I had to turn round and tell her I slammed the door and the window smashed.
“It’s an absolute disgrace. They know there is a child in this house. It is just beyond a joke.
“We have already suffered so much stuff in between this. My mother passed away, his mother passed away within seven weeks of one another between October and November.
“They knew my mother passed away because the wake was just over the street.
“They just have no morals, they don’t care about anything.
“They will do what they want and that’s that.”
Ciaron added: “They are getting away with it and that’s the problem.”
The couple said they have no option now but to move.
“We have the ball rolling and all now,” Annette said.
Independent Councillor for the area, Dee Quigley yesterday spoke with the family.
He said: “These attacks on families cannot be allowed to happen in our community and are not welcome in our homes.
“People should have the right to live in peace and quiet in their own homes without fear of attack.
“It is a disgrace that this is happening.”