Pipe bomb attack on local press photographer

December 18, 2012

By Christine Keighery

A local press photographer and his family are recovering from a terrifying ordeal following the discovery of a pipe bomb at their Mayobridge home last Friday.

Mark Pearce and his family were awakened by police shortly after midnight on Friday at their home in Carraig Crosain, Mayobridge.  Acting on an anonymous telephone tip off received just minutes earlier, PSNI officers arrived at the scene, battering on the rear door of the house in their efforts to waken the family and evacuate them from their home.

Mr Pearce grabbed his partner and two children aged 12 and 14 and escaped out the back of the house, passing by the pipe bomb which had been set against the front door of the home.

Six other houses in the quiet cul-de-sac were also evacuated as army disposal experts dealt with the bomb.  The device was later declared as viable with police revealing that the family were “extremely lucky” it had not exploded.

The Examiner spoke to Mark Pearce on Friday morning. Clearly shaken from the previous night’s events, Mr Pearce described the attack as a “terrifying” experience for himself and his family.

The freelance photographer, who regularly submits work to this newspaper, told us he believes he may have been targeted as a result of his job but is at a loss to explain exactly why his work would incite such a deadly reaction.  As a press photographer for the last twenty years, his pictures capture relevant news events throughout the locality and, up until now, Mr Pearce has never felt any aspect of his work placed him in a life threatening position.

He added,

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that this has happened.  To think of what could have happened my children just doesn’t bear thinking about. I’m scared, and can’t believe that somebody could have the audacity to come to my door and put a bomb to endanger me, my family, my neighbours – for what?”

Mark admitted that his children are traumatised by the attack,

“Christmas is ruined for my children.  When the lights go down in my house tonight I know they’re going to be frightened and anxious.  I know there’ll be sleepless nights ahead for the next few weeks.”

The angry father slammed those responsible but remained adamant that he will not be deterred from continuing his work as a press photographer.

“This will not stop me doing my job. I’m not doing anything wrong or controversial so I will continue. I contribute to relevant news items – that’s all, much like photographers up and down the country so I won’t allow myself to be beaten back by some thug.

“For a start, I don’t take photographs that endanger anybody’s life and I don’t see why I should have my life endangered for doing something that I love.”

Police have appealed for anyone with information on the attack to contact them.