Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 09:44 UK

Schoolgirl's rapist shot in home

Rosemount Gardens, Derry
The attack happened in the Rosemount Gardens area of Derry

A man shot in both legs in a paramilitary-style attack in Londonderry was awaiting sentencing for raping a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

Keith Burnside, 37, was shot in his Rosemount Gardens home by two masked men in front of his girlfriend and two children at about 2315 BST on Monday.

Burnside was convicted in March of raping a girl in his car at Sandbank Cottages in 2000.

He is being treated in hospital for his injuries.

SDLP Councillor Mark H. Durkan said he had spoken to Keith Burnside's girlfriend who witnessed the attack.

"She's in an awful state of shock, it was an extremely traumatic experience for everyone involved," he said.

"There were two young children in the house, a 12-week-old baby and a six-year-old who saw everything."

Councillor Durkan said he did not discuss the motive for the shooting.

"This attack must be condemned regardless of what it was in connection with," he added.

"We cannot have this law of the jungle where people are taking the law into their own hands."

Burnside was due to be sentenced for the rape shortly.

During the trial the court heard that his victim blocked the attack out of her mind for seven years before reporting it, after the accused smirked at her outside a nightclub.

A defence application was due to be heard in Londonderry Crown Court on Tuesday but was adjourned when the court was told of the attack.

Community worker Tommy McCourt said such incidents made people fearful of a return to violence. "It takes you back to the bad old days," he said.

"We believed that those days had passed and nobody wants to see this kind of thing happening again."

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey also condemned the attack. "The people who carried out this shooting have no support from the local community and no place in a civilised society," he said.

The police said that those responsible were of slim build and wore tracksuits, baseball caps, and scarves over their faces.

The first man was 5ft 10ins and the second 6ft 2ins.

They want anyone who was in the area at the time and may have seen the men to contact them.

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