Petrol bomb thrown at PSNI officer in Derry as he battled with house fire

Credit: UTV
Derry Londonderry Peace Bridge Guildhall Drone
PSNI officers were dealing with an arson attack on a house in Derry at the time.

Police in Londonderry are treating an attack on an officer as attempted murder after a petrol bomb was thrown directly at him.

The officer was attending the scene of a house fire in Creggan on Sunday when the incident occurred.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "The officer was with colleagues who responded to the fire in St Cecilia’s Walk, which had been reported shortly before 11am.

"When officers were at the scene a number of young people gathered and threw stones at them.

"As police remained to secure the scene throughout the afternoon, a petrol bomb, which had been lit, was directly thrown at an officer."

Superintendent Clive Beatty said the officer "acted quickly and prevented serious injury by deflecting the petrol bomb away from his body".

"He sustained an injury to his hand in doing so, however, he was able to remain on duty and continue to serve our community.

"What happened is unacceptable. No one should go to work and be placed in such a dangerous situation. Were it not for his quick reaction, the consequences could have resulted in serious injury, or worse." Police say detectives from Criminal Investigation Branch are leading the probe into both the fire at the property, which has been ruled as deliberate, and into the subsequent disorder and attack on the officer.

Detective Inspector Gareth Lavery said: “We are treating this horrific attack on our colleague as attempted murder, and I have a number of appeals to make as part of our investigation into the incident, the fire and subsequent disorder.

"In relation to the house fire, this was reported to us at around 10.45am yesterday. The property was vacant at the time and, thanks to the work of NIFRS, the blaze was prevented from spreading to neighbouring properties.

"There were no reports of any injuries. This incident is being investigated as arson. If you were in the area at around this time, and you have information in relation to what happened, tell us."If you were in the area yesterday and captured or witnessed what happened in St. Cecilia's Walk and the attempted murder of our officer, contact us."