'Sickening' petrol bomb attack at home of vulnerable young man
The home of a vulnerable young man has been targeted in a "sickening" petrol bomb attack in Banbridge, County Down.
It happened in the Hillview Terrace area in Banbridge at around 5.30am on Sunday morning.
Officers said the young man, who is described as having severe learning difficulties, awoke to the sound of his upstairs window smashing, as he lay in bed.
In a social media post the PSNI said this was "immediately followed by a petrol bomb, thrown at the hole in the now broken window".
However officers said the petrol bomb did not enter the house but set alight to the window and the window sill below.
A passing taxi driver raised the alarm and the PSNI and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service were on scene quickly.
PSNI officers said: "Whoever carried out this horrific attempt on an innocent life should have no where to hide. If they had been slightly more accurate with their second throw, literally inches to one side, we could be dealing with a murder scene this morning. Help us find them.
"We have been told a small dark car was seen making off from the area. Do you live locally? Did you see or hear this happen and see anything either immediately before or after that could be of use?
"Are you a taxi driver or were you driving in the area around that time and have dash cam footage? If so, please check it immediately before it wipes over, and contact Detective H on 101 with anything, no matter how small, that may be of use.
"The incident number is 354 of 18/02/2018. You can always speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."
DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said the young man is "known and loved" throughout the area.
She said: “I would utterly condemn what has happened in Hillview Terrace, Dromore Street, Banbridge. My thoughts are with the young man who awoke to the shock of this petrol bomb attack on his property. There is no doubt that those who engaged in this activity wanted to cause serious damage and could have caused severe injury or death.
"I would like to thank the PSNI and the local community who have rallied around this well known family. The young man was a vulnerable young adult with learning difficulties and someone who is known and loved throughout the area.
"It is vital that anyone with any information comes forward and reports it to the PSNI. It is important that closure is brought to this case and the real rationale and reason for this attack is established.
"Police have confirmed to me that there is no known reason why this man would be targeted and they have commented publicly that this could well be a prime example of why vigilante action and indeed gang land feuding is so dangerous to the wider, innocent public.
"This morning we could be dealing with a murder scene and therefore those responsible should face the full force of the law.”
Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd condemned the attack.
He said: "This attack on a vulnerable young man has to be condemned.
"The perpetrators could have killed this young man and others.
"I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI immediately."