‘Hero’ neighbour ‘saved our lives’

Police on scene at Ard-Na-Smoll in Dungiven on Tuesday.
Police on scene at Ard-Na-Smoll in Dungiven on Tuesday.

A Dungiven woman who was at home alone with her daughter when a bomb was discovered on her doorstep has praised her “hero” neighbour for “saving our lives”.

The woman, who prefers not to be named, said she and her partner, Gavin Watson, don’t understand why their Ard-Na-Smoll home was targeted on Monday night.

A number of families were evacuated from their homes during the two-day alert. No-one has claimed responsibility for the bomb.

The couple believe it was mistaken identity.

“As far as I’m concerned, my neighbour is the hero of the day. He saved our lives,” said the woman, who was downstairs making a bottle for her two-year-old daughter, who was sick, when saw a flash of light through the front window. She went outside to find neighbours tackling a fire at her wheelie bin. As she ran back into her daughter, she was alerted to a second fire at her other wheelie bin outside the front door.

“My neighbour shouted ‘There’s something there, get out’. I looked down and there it was. I was standing right beside it,” said the woman of the deadliy device.

The woman grabbed her child and fled from the house through the back door, lifting her daughter over the fence to a neighbour.

“All the neighbours were great and they have been so supportive since all this happened. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and we want to say ‘thank you’. Nobody wants this in the area,” said the woman, who said people need to be vigilant.

The neighbour who alerted the woman to the device, which police confirmed was viable, said he did what anyone would.

“I’m not a hero,” said the neighbour. “I just did the right thing;what anyone would have. You hear about these things in other places, but you don’t realise what they go through until you go through it yourself. It was definitely scary.”