Gang ransack wrong home in search for man

By Gemma Burns

A North Belfast couple have been left terrified after a gang burst into their home the day before Christmas Eve and ransacked their house in a search for a man who does not live there.

Sean Duffy, a former youth coach of Cliftonville Football Club and the current youth coach for Newington FC, was marking his 60th birthday with his wife Isobel in their Castleton Gardens home last Friday night when the gang burst in asking if a named person was in the house.

Despite being told repeatedly by Sean that no one by that name lived there, one man held the couple in the living room for around 15 minutes while another man searched upstairs.

The couple did not see the second man so did not know if he was armed in any way. After they left Sean and his wife, who suffers from heart problems, discovered all their upstairs rooms had been ransacked.

The well-known and highly-respected coach described the incident.

“I was just in from work, it was about 8.15 and me and Isobel were in the living room,” he said.

“We heard someone coming down the hall and thought it was maybe one of our sons coming in. Then this big fella came in and kept naming this person and asking where they were. I told him that no one by that name lived there. At the start I thought it was a wind up because it was my 60th and thought maybe someone was playing a joke.

“Then he made us sit in the living room while this other one was upstairs going through the rooms, it must have lasted for about 10 or 15 minutes. My wife had a heart attack last year and has a bad heart, so we told him she needed to take her medication because she was starting to panic.



“Then he asked what our surname was, I told him it was Duffy and next thing they said sorry they had the wrong house and they were away again.”

Sean said he and his family have lived in the house for more than 30 years and have never had any bother.

“We just didn’t need this just before Christmas, they definitely had the wrong house and we want them to know this in case it happens again.”

Local Sinn Féin councillor Conor Maskey said it is unclear if the gang were dissident republicans or were involved in the drugs trade.

“It is unclear what this gang were looking for, whether they were dissidents looking for an individual or if they were involved in drugs,” he said.

“I will be taking Sean to report this to the police, firstly because no one wants this to happen in our community in any house and secondly if drugs are involved then they are not welcome in our community either.

“Sean Duffy and his family are very well known and well respected in this area and I want to show my support for them. They were wrongly targeted by these people and the ones who did this need to know that.”

Tags: , , ,

Local punter scoops £30,000 on winrush bet

BET OF THE WEEK We start with a cracking bet with one local punter taking Paddy Power for £31,590.00 with a £20 winrush […]

I Believe in Superheroes

Tribute to Mona McConnell, 1942-2016 I can’t remember when I stopped believing in superheroes. Perhaps when I was 13 or […]


It’s Irish Guineas weekend at the Curragh and in the hunt for a Guineas double is English 2000 winner Galileo […]

Rossa punter left gutted after one team does him out of a £246,000 windfall

MANCHESTER United killed our quad last Sunday in our quest to end the season on a high, but it wasn’t to […]

Squinter: the autumn leaves are falling like flags

SO ANYWAY, there’s Squinter dandering along the Ormeau Road on Monday night, the dog at his side, looking up at […]

Life got in the way

This week I hit a few snags, it’s very true what they say sometimes ‘life just gets in the way’ […]