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Kids ‘traumatised and hysterical’ after shotgun attack on home

By Staff Reporter

A mother-of-two has spoken of her determination to stay in her Oldpark home despite a terrifying gun attack last week.

Elaine Fleuty was in the kitchen of her Ballymoney Street house last Sunday evening (2 February) with friends and family, when a shotgun blast from the back of the house blew out the window of the kitchen door and showered the occupants – including her four-year-old son McKenzie – with glass.

While no one was seriously injured, buckshot from the shotgun blast embedded into the walls of the kitchen and the living room door, where – just moments previously – Elaine’s other son Pearse had been standing.

The 25-year-old mother said she was “traumatised” by the incident, but would not leave her home because of the attack.

“I won’t be forced out,” said Ms Fleuty. “It’s been very hard to be here since the attack. It’s ok during the day, but at night it’s difficult particularly with the kids. However I’m determined to stay. I’ll take it one day at a time, but I won’t be put out.”

The 25-year-old, who lives alone in the house with her two sons, said she had never encountered any problems of this kind before.

Her mother Denise, who was also present during the attack, added: “We’ve had great support from the neighbours all over the street. They know Elaine is a good neighbour.”

Describing the moment the attack happened, Ms Fleuty recalled: “It was scary. Really terrifying. We were sitting around the kitchen table and we just heard this huge bang. Immediately we all jumped and dived onto the floor. I was just thinking about my two sons.

“They were hysterical. We had to take them down to a friend’s house nearby.”

The family said they believed the gunman shot from behind a garden fence about 20 feet from the back door.

Denise Fleuty added: “The blinds and windows were all open. The person could clearly see inside and see that there was children in here but they fired anyway. It’s ridiculous this has happened. It’s unreal.

“There was glass everywhere but everyone got away with just scrapes and nicks. We’re really, really lucky something worse didn’t happen.”

Two of Ms Fleuty’s brothers left the house to investigate, and say a neighbour saw a man, who appeared to be carrying a concealed weapon, walking away from the scene.

Denise said: “The neighbour saw the man just calmly walking away. “He said he noticed him because he appeared to have something bulky wrapped up, which must have been the shotgun. Then he got into his car and sped off.

“We got a description of the man to give to the police. He knew he was going to be caught, and that’s why he left in such a hurry.”

While the incident has clearly shaken the young mother, Ms Fleuty said her young sons have been much worse.

“We told the kids that some bad boys had thrown a brick with a firework attached, so they wouldn’t worry. We told them the police had caught them. McKenzie is only four so he doesn’t fully understand what happened. But he wants to be around me all the time now.

“Pearse has had kids coming up to him in school saying they saw what happened on the news and that the house was shot at. He’s said he doesn’t want to stay here, but this is our home.”

The family said they were at a loss as to why anyone would want to target Ms Fleuty, and that she is well regarded in the area.

Elaine’s mother, Denise, was put out of an Ardilee Street home by dissident republicans, following an incident a number of years ago. However she insisted that it was unrelated to Sunday night’s shooting.

“When the shooting happened, I thought it was for me,” she said. “But it actually has nothing to do with me. But why Elaine would be targeted we have no idea. She’s known as the quiet one and gets on great with everybody in the area.”

She added: “My daughters were born and grew up in England. They’re not used to this kind of thing.”

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