‘I am going to better this community even if it kills me’

UNDER ATTACK...Mr McDowell shows the damage to his home. CR21 161pl
UNDER ATTACK...Mr McDowell shows the damage to his home. CR21 161pl

A COLERAINE man has vowed to continue with his community work despite another attack on his Hazelbank Road home.

A brick was thrown through the living room window of Joe McDowell’s home last Tuesday night, coincidentally while Mr McDowell was driving past.

Mr McDowell, a member of the Killowen and Churchlands Community Association, told the Times: “I was driving towards the house when I saw the girl who threw the brick.

“There was also a fella on down at my sister’s house. They attacked her house but missed.

“The brick they threw at my house landed in the middle of the living room floor. My disabled mother-in-law lives with us but thankfully she wasn’t in the house when it happened but a 75-year-old lady who lives with us was in the house in bed at the time.

“This has been a terrible shock. My dogs are still cowering in fear.”

Mr McDowell said that he had been attacked in the past because some members of his family had been linked to the incident surrounding the murder of Catholic father Kevin McDaid in May 2009.

“But I am working to make this a better community and things were starting to look a a bit better up round the Heights. We got a new play park opened recently.

“There is good work going on between both sides of the community. Killowen Primary School and St John’s Primary School are working together.

“But my house has been attacked before. I got a message via the Samaritans two years ago that I was going to be burned out. My car has been damaged. I’ve had three flat tyres in the last year.

“This is the second attack on my sister’s house in the past year. We are being intimidated,” claimed Mr McDowell.

“But I am going to keep working. I will not let then win.

“I am going to better this community if it kills me.”

Police in Coleraine confirmed that they are appealing for information following the incident.

A 24-year-old female has been arrested and has since been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact police at Coleraine on 0845 600 8000. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Inspector Catherine Magee said: “Neighbourhood officers are spending more time patrolling the town than ever before and are there to provide a visible, and reassuring presence to local residents.

“Over the past year there has been a substantial drop in the types of crime which are of particular concern to the people of Coleraine, there are fewer reported incidents of criminal damage, violent crime and offences against the person.

“In response to community concerns, Neighbourhood officers have seized a large quantity of drugs and subsequently made a number of arrests.

“This is in addition to proactive policing by our crime team and response officers.

“The Neighbourhood policing team has worked hard to develop relationships with local residents and members of community groups.

“ We have met with a wide range of people from local councillors, community representatives and residents to discuss any issues and concerns.

“Some of the issues within the community can not be resolved by police alone and we are working in partnership with other agencies such as NIHE, Coleraine Borough Council, Community Safety Partnership, NEELB, CRUN and Neighbourhood Renewal.

“Police in Coleraine are committed to the delivery of personal, professional, protective policing service and listen to community concerns raised.

“We would encourage anyone with information about any crime or incident to contact your local neighbourhood officers on 0845 600 800.”