Children left ‘screaming in pyjamas’

Children woken up by the bomb blast in Derry last night were left screaming in their pyjamas, residents have said.

The youngsters were among dozens of people affected when the device detonated outside the terraced Probation Service office building towards the bottom of Crawford Square last night.

Mrs Webster said that she and her husband were preparing to go to bed when they heard a loud bang.

“I was in the kitchen and heard the bang and went out the front. People were beginning to come out of their houses. You could see flames coming from the side of a car, but they were put out quite quickly.

“A woman and her two children arrived out on the street. The children were screaming and were in their pyjamas. They had been wakened out of their sleep.”

Mrs Webster said that this was one of the most horrific sights she has ever witnessed, made worse by the fact that this young family’s dog was still in the house and they didn’t know at this stage if the building would catch fire.”

The children were screaming and were in their pyjamas. They had been wakened out of their sleep.

Bernie Webster

A teacher who lives nearby helped to calm the children down.

Scorch damage could be seen at the Probation Office building this morning, as Army Technical Officers made their way to the scene.

The alarm was raised after a tip off to the Samaritans at around 10.30pm on Monday night.

It exploded however before police arrived at the scene.

The damage outside the office at Crawford Square.

The damage outside the office at Crawford Square.

Mrs Webster said the bombing had been “very frightening for everybody”.

Mrs Webster- whose daughter Amy is currently trying to make her way off Mount Everest following the Nepal Earthquake and avalanches- said that the bomb blast resulted in a third night without virtually no sleep.

She added that her family had been hosting a teacher from England last night when the bomb went off.

“We just feel totally humiliated if we are bringing people to Derry and saying how good it is and how much it has come on and then something like this happens.”

Councillor Elisha McCallion. DER1315-132KM

Councillor Elisha McCallion. DER1315-132KM

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) have now issued a statement condemning the bombing.

Cheryl Lamont, PBNI Acting Director said: “Our staff are part of the local community. PBNI’s role is to change lives for safer communities. Everything we do is about protecting the community and ensuring there are fewer victims of crime.

“The attack in the vicinity of our offices in Crawford Square last night put members of the public at risk and has caused huge disruption in the local area.”

She added: “We appreciate the messages of support from partners, politicians and local groups which we are extremely grateful for and we can reassure the public we will continue to work to make local communities safer.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Elisha McCallion described the bombing as an “attack on the entire community”.

Colr. McCallion said: “This was a totally reckless act in a mainly residential area of the city that caused local residents a lot of disruption and upset.

“We are really lucky that we are not dealing with a fatality or a serious injury.

“I would like to reassure the staff working within the Probation Service that this type of intimidation and attack will not be tolerated and they should be able to continue with the work they do without fear.”

Colr. McCallion added: “I will be in regular contact with the PSNI for an update into this incident.

“My thoughts are with the residents and Probation staff at this time and I can assure them that the community is behind them and there is no support for such incidents in our city and district.”