Forced out - Couple flee after violent hate crime

HOUSE ATTACK. . . .The property at Montgomery Close, Waterside that had windows broken in an overnight attack on Thursday night. 1501JM15
HOUSE ATTACK. . . .The property at Montgomery Close, Waterside that had windows broken in an overnight attack on Thursday night. 1501JM15

A Filipino woman has spoken of the terrifying moment she almost jumped from a first floor window as thugs smashed her Waterside home with golf clubs.

The 35 year-old woman told the ‘Journal’ she was prepared to jump to her death to avoid being “tortured” by the attackers.

The woman was alone in the house at Montgomery Close - which she shared with Derry husband Jonathan Taylor - when the frenzied attack took place at around 5.30pm on Thursday. After spending the night with relatives, the horrified Catholic couple moved out of their Waterside home the next day, taking up residence on the city’s west bank. They are unsure as to whether the attack was sectarian or racial in nature. Police are treating it as a hate crime.

The woman, who did not want to be named, was not injured but left very badly shaken. She spoke exclusively to the ‘Journal’: “I was upstairs and heard banging loud banging and crashing downstairs and thought ‘that can’t be in our house’. I looked downstairs and all I could see was glass flying all over the house - it was terrifying. I locked myself in the bedroom and called 999 while the attack was going on. As the glass continued to be smashed I then phoned my husband.”

Having no indication of the attackers’ motivation, the panic-strickened woman feared they would enter her home and assault or even kill her.

“I had opened the window in the bedroom and was prepared to jump rather than waiting for them to come up the stairs and giving them the chance to torture me. I thought I’d rather end my life than wait for them to torture me.”

The perpetrators did not speak during the violent attack, which lasted for up to three minutes.

A neighbour said he saw two men, one wearing a blue jacket and the other wearing a red jacket, pummelling the double glazed six-pane window and front door of the house with golf clubs.

Husband Jonathan said he believes the attack was planned because of its timing. “My wife finished work at 4.30pm and I work until 6.30pm so they obviously knew she’d be alone in the house and planned it that way.”

Mr Taylor, who rushed home to his despairing wife as soon as she raised the alarm, branded those who carried out the attack “nothing but scumbags and cowards”.

The family say they believe the attack was sectarian, although have not ruled out the possibility that it may have been racially motivated.

“We believe we were targeted because we are Catholics and that’s what is so puzzling because there isn’t a bitter bone in either of our bodies,” Jonathan said.

Mr Taylor said he believes the incident may have been caught on a neighbour’s CCTV camera and hopes the attackers will be tracked down.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H. Durkan said the “cowardly thugs” responsible have no place in a peaceful and just society.

“Any violence is repellant, but racially or sectarian-motivated attacks are completely abhorrent to all right-thinking people.

“The entire community will be disgusted by the events in Montgomery Close.”

A PSNI spokesperson appealed for anyone with information on those behind the incident or who witnessed the attack unfold or who noticed any unusual activity in the area to call them on 0845 600 8000.

Should someone prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.