My amazing Northern Ireland holiday became bomb horror

A father has told how his 'amazing' holiday in Londonderry turned into a nightmare when his hotel was hit by a bomb.

Sukhninderjit Singh Braitch, 44, with his guide to the city
Sukhninderjit Singh Braitch, 44, with his guide to the city

Sukhninderjit Braitch, from Wolverhampton, was staying at the city's Everglades hotel when it was hit by a suspected IRA firebomb attack.

Mr Braitch, of Taunton Avenue, Fordhouses, said he had been enjoying a weekend in Northern Ireland's second city when the bomb struck the Everglades Hotel.

"A masked man came in, put something down, and told the girl on reception she had got half an hour to evacuate the hotel," said Mr Braitch.

The bomb later exploded, damaging the reception area of the hotel in the Prehen area of the city.

But a swift evacuation by staff and police prevented any loss of life in the drama at the of May.

Mr Braitch had gone to bed for the night when he was woken by the fire alarm at the four-star hotel.

"At first we thought it was a fire, but then the police came and cleared the area, they told us to stand behind a neighbouring building, there were around 40 or 50 of us.

"I was scared, and I'm sure the others were scared too.

"At this point, we didn't know whether they were still about, and if they were going to do something silly.

"The young staff did a brilliant job of getting people out of their rooms.

"Once most had been evacuated, they went back in to see if to see if there was anyone else, it shows the bravery of those young people."

Police outside the entrance to the Everglades Hotel in the Prehen area of Derry-Londonderry, where a bomb was thrown into the reception by a masked man
Police outside the entrance to the Everglades Hotel in the Prehen area of Derry-Londonderry, where a bomb was thrown into the reception by a masked man

Mr Braitch, a 44-year-old father of one, said the guests were later moved to another hotel.

He said despite his experience, it would not put him off visiting the city again.

"It's an amazing place," he said.

"During my visit I spoke to both Catholics and Loyalists, and all the people I met were so friendly.

"I spoke to a man whose father had been killed during Bloody Sunday.

"The people there are just trying to live in peace, and we should not let those who want to wreck that to win.

"Despite all that, there are so many positive things.

"People don't think of Derry as a holiday place, but it is a beautiful city."

A flare-up of violence in Northern Ireland had been anticipated after Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was arrested by police in connection with the murder of Jean McConville in 1972.

He was later released without charge.