An arson attack on a flat in north Belfast was a sectarian bid by loyalists to burn out Catholics living in the area.
A bin was pushed against the door of a ground floor flat on Ligoniel Road and set alight at around 1.25am on Thursday morning.
The death threat ‘KAT’ had been spray-painted outside the property, which is in a predominantly loyalist area. ‘KAT’ is an abbreviation for ‘Kill All Taigs [Catholics]’.
The blaze damage the ground flat and an upper apartment. Three people were treated for smoke inhalation, but the targets of the attack escaped serious injury.
Meanwhile, there was shock when two loyalists who nearly killed a young Catholic man in an “animalistic” sectarian attack in Derry were this week given only suspended sentences.
Judge Barney McElholm admitted the victim was lucky to be alive as he allowed two Waterside men to walk free for their part in the attack, which took place in the predominantly Protestant Fountain area of the city.
Darren Dougherty and Robert Lyttle, both 24, were charged with assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm respectively.
The court heard the victim was attacked by a group of six-seven males who were said to have shouted sectarian abuse such as “you Fenian bastard” during the 2014 attack. CCTV footage played in court showed Lyttle kicking the victim six times as he lay on the ground and Dougherty on top of him as girls attempted to break it up.
Passing sentence, Judge McElholm said the attack could have proved fatal and the victim could have sustained “serious and permanent brain damage.”
Addressing both defendants, Judge McElholm said: “Both of you need to take a long hard look at yourselves.” Dougherty was a given three months jail sentence suspended for two years and Lyttle was given a nine month jail term suspended for two years.