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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Woman flees 'homophobic attacks'
Ashley Stinson
Ashley Stinson said ignorance was a big factor
A woman has said she has been forced from her home in a County Antrim seaside resort after intimidation.

Ashley Stinson, 32, who is gay, said her home in Dhu Varren, Portrush, has been attacked several times.

She said that she cannot cope with the situation any longer and has been forced to move out.

Ms Stinson, who said she had lived at Dhu Varren for three years, described her attackers' attitude as "disgraceful in this day and age".

"Ignorance, I would say, is a big part of it, if anybody is slightly different, people are afraid of them," she said.

She said her mother's car had been attacked and damaged while parked in her drive.

"A couple of nights later a wheelie bin was taken and burnt out the back, the Fire Brigade come out to put it out.

"I thought: 'That's enough I'm going to get out of here now'.

Ms Stinson said her friend's car was taken from outside her home while they had been out at a local nightclub.

"We came back and his car was stole off the drive, smashed up and left across the street. I thought: 'Surely no more will happen to me'. Then my window got smashed on Wednesday morning."

Police figures have shown a steep increase in homophobic incidents in Northern Ireland.

In the period 2003/04, there were 71 recorded incidents. In 2004/2005 the number of incidents increased to 196 - a rise of 176%.


SEE ALSO:
Gay man's home attacked six times
30 May 05 |  Northern Ireland



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