Wednesday 22 November 2017

Photographer in fear of family's safety after pipe bomb left outside home

Michael McHugh

A PHOTOGRAPHER fears for his family after a pipe bomb was discoverd outside his house in the North last night.

Mark Pearce, from Mayobridge near Newry in Co Down, has worked as a photographer for over 20 years.

His family was woken by police shortly after midnight today at their home in Carraig Crosain. Six homes in their street were evacuated.

Mr Pearce, 39, has a daughter aged 14 and a son aged 12.

He said his family was concerned about what this evening could bring.

"As photographers, we have this ability to distance ourselves from what happened. To a certain degree it does not seem real - but this is real. This is my family, this is my children. It is horrible."

He said he had no proof of who may target him, but believed it may have happened because of photographs which he had taken.

The cameraman added he had recently received a death threat.

Army bomb disposal officers dealt with the viable bomb which had been left outside Mr Pearce's front door. His two children were in the house at the time.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes about 5.20am.

Police have appealed for information about the attack.

Sinn Fein MLA Caitriona Ruane said those who left a pipe bomb at the home of the photographer represented an affront to democracy.

"In any civilised society a free press is paramount in maintaining democracy and this attack needs to seen in that context," she said.

"While people may not agree with sections of the media, there is no excuse to attack them or their families."

SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said the perpetrators were intent on causing serious injury.

"Disruption was caused to that family and to local residents who returned to their properties earlier this morning. The thoughts and prayers of the entire community are with the family," she said.

"The message is clear to those who perpetrate these despicable acts - get off our backs and let us live in peace and harmony."

Alliance Party assembly member Trevor Lunn said freedom of the press is paramount in any democratic society.

"There should never be any attempt to silence the press through the use of violence. I would like to extend my support to Mark and his family," he added.

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