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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 17:14 GMT
Family claim attack was 'sectarian'
House targeted by petrol bombers in Larne
The family were trapped upstairs in the house
A family whose home was attacked with a petrol bomb in County Antrim have said it was an attempt to murder them.

Frank Burleigh, his wife and their 20-year-old son were asleep at their home on the Linn Road in Larne when the attack happened at about 0130 GMT on Tuesday.

A brick was thrown through a window of the house and was followed by a petrol bomb.

It ignited setting off a smoke alarm but the family could not get out and remained trapped upstairs until firefighters arrived.

The ambulance service treated the people who were suffering from a bit of shock and smoke inhalation

Brian Marley
Divisional fire officer

Mr Burleigh said his family was attacked because they are Catholic.

The family moved to the house in the autumn, having been forced to flea their last home after it was targeted up to a dozen times.

They said they would now have to consider leaving Larne.

Divisional fire officer Brian Marley said they had a lucky escape.

"They were at the first floor window of the property so the brigade used ladders and assisted in the safety," he said.

"My understanding is that the smoke alarm they had in the property activated and alerted them to the fire.

"The ambulance service were also tasked to the scene and treated the people who were suffering from a bit of shock and smoke inhalation."

'Senseless'

The front porch of the house was badly damaged in the attack

DUP councillor Jack McKee condemned the attack which he described as "senseless".

"Sooner or later someone will be killed as a result of these wicked acts," he said.

"I would call on these people to get off the backs of the people of Larne as they are not supported by Protestant or Catholic people."

A motive for the attack has not yet been established by the police.

Detectives have appealed for information from anyone who noticed suspicious activity in the area at the time of the attack.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Shane Glynn:
"The family now face an uncertain future"
BBC NI's Kevin Sharkey:
"The family were trapped inside until the fire brigade arrived"
See also:

11 Jan 03 | N Ireland
09 Aug 02 | N Ireland
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