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Vulnerable Romani Gypsy living in fear after Newry thugs' race hate campaign

"Painting a target on my home was last straw", said Rinee Boswell

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Recently Rinee Boswell awoke to find racist thugs had spray painted crosshairs on her bungalow on the Killeavy Road

Recently Rinee Boswell awoke to find racist thugs had spray painted crosshairs on her bungalow on the Killeavy Road

Recently Rinee Boswell awoke to find racist thugs had spray painted crosshairs on her bungalow on the Killeavy Road

A vulnerable Romani Gypsy from Newry says she's living in fear of her life after a sustained race hate campaign against her.

Most recently Rinee Boswell says she awoke to find racist thugs had spray-painted crosshairs on her bungalow on the Killeavy Road.

The incident was reported as a hate crime but police now say they don't believe there was anything untoward - something she can't understand.

"It was sprayed on the window as clear as day," she said. "Why would I report it to the police otherwise? I know what I saw."

But the 64-year-old has already suffered several shocking attacks since the trouble started last autumn.

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Bigots have even started targeting Rinee's paid carer, Martin McCabe, through a sinister social media campaign and threats

Bigots have even started targeting Rinee's paid carer, Martin McCabe, through a sinister social media campaign and threats

Bigots have even started targeting Rinee's paid carer, Martin McCabe, through a sinister social media campaign and threats

And the bigots have even started targeting her paid carer, Martin McCabe, through a sinister social media campaign and threats.

"Just before midnight on Christmas Eve someone threw a massive rock through my bedroom window and it landed on my bed," says Rinee.

"I was preparing the dinner for Christmas Day but usually I'd have been in bed at that time. If I had been, I could have been killed not just because of the huge rock hitting me on the head but I'd have been ripped to shreds by broken glass.

"It was terrifying to think someone would want to do that to me simply because I'm a Romani Gypsy. It completely ruined my Christmas. I couldn't eat a bite or even take a cup of tea. It wrecked my nerves completely."

In the weeks before that cowardly attack Rinee had already suffered a series of disturbing incidents including having a spent bullet casing posted through her letterbox and her car windows smashed in a separate incident.

And the mum of five who now lives alone has also been called a "dirty gypsy b*****d".

"They are trying to intimidate me out of my home and out of the area but I'm going nowhere," says Rinee. "I have a bad heart and suffer from depression and need a carer to help me look after myself. They are really brave men picking on someone like me."

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Her carer Martin (43) told the Sunday World he was disgusted at how Rinee had been targeted.

"I've known Rinee for over 20 years," he said. "We used to live in the same flats and then she rented a room in my house to help me make up the rent.

"Then she started getting sick. She had mental health issues, heart problems and suffered from a bad back and legs.

"I became her paid-for carer in 2006, and though I live in another house now, I've been looking after her ever since.

"She's one of the loveliest people you could ever meet. She is so down to earth, and she would go out of her way to help others if she can.

"It's disgusting what she has been put through just because she's a Romani Gypsy."

But Martin has also become a victim of the racists' hate campaign.

"And now they have started on me for looking after her," he explains. "I have been threatened and they started up a Facebook page to spread lies about us both.

"We suspect we know who the ringleaders are but the police don't seem to be able to do anything.

"I'm getting fed up with hearing the same nonsense."

Martin was involved in an altercation with two men he believes are involved in the campaign.

"One of them was a local man who we'd had run-ins with before but he had involved a thug from Dundalk who's involved in a far right group which opposes immigration.

"They had been circling Rinee's house and mine for ages and then they pulled up to my house. They were armed with a wheel brace and a hurling stick. I got hit a few times but I defended myself and took the hurl off one of them and gave as good as I got."

Martin says he called the police to report the incident but says his attackers made counter-claims and the PSNI were unable to charge them with anything.

"I've reported the Facebook page to the police but they said it's anonymous so there's nothing they can do about that which is a joke.

"We went to our solicitors to see what we could do and he told us to go to the Sunday World to report it."

The PSNI told the Sunday World: "A third-party report of an incident at the property was recorded as a hate crime, due to the perception of the reporting person. The markings were examined and were found to be nothing untoward."

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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