Newborn baby 'lucky to be alive' after rock thrown through window in escalating abuse campaign against young Padiham couple
An eight-week-old baby escaped serious harm after a rock was thrown through the window of her home and bounced off the top of the swing chair she was sleeping in.
And although baby Hope was unharmed, the horrifying incident has left her doting parents, Lucy and Leanne Devine distraught, as it is the latest in a series of attacks the couple have been subjected to for over a year and a half.
Lucy (21) said: "This most recent incident where the back window of the house was smashed was absolutely horrifying as our youngest daughter could have been killed.
"The rock missed her head by centimetres, she is lucky to be alive."
Since the rock attack police have mounted nightly patrols at the couple's Padiham home.
And it is being treated as a hate crime, also known as a prejudice-motivated crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of their membership (or perceived membership) of a certain social group or race.
Lucy said: "We do have some inclination as to who has been terrorising us over the years but not to this extent.
"The only reason I can honestly think of as to why we are being targeted this way is because of our sexuality as I can hand on heart swear that we have not done anything to anyone for us to be treated this way."
Together for seven years, Lucy and 22-year-old Leanne got married two years ago and they also have an older daughter, Faith who is two. Both from Padiham, they moved to their currrent home in September, 2019, and the campaign against them began.
Lucy said: "It started with minimal homophobic verbal abuse being thrown about at us while we were out around our area but, with having that for the past seven years of us being together, we have just learned to take it with a pinch of salt and just let it go over our heads and be the bigger people."
After a month the abuse escalated and police were called when Lucy and Faith, who was just one at the time, were pelted with stones as they made a visit to their local shop.
Lucy said: "My daughter was in a pram at the time and one of the stones hit her in the head.
"From then on it just got worse and every time we would go to the shop there would be verbal abuse, stones, drink and even food thrown at us."
The incidents were reported to the police and the couple took to going to the shop to buy what they needed alone to keep their children out of harm's way.
In the past six months the couple's garden has been trashed several times with ornaments smashed, plants stolen and homophobic insults daubbed on their walls in chalk. Insulting notes telling them to 'die' and 'go to hell' were also posted through their letterbox.
Several attempts have been made to break into the couple's home by kicking the doors and picking the locks. And in one terrifying incident an attempt was made to burn a hole through the back door of their property.
Lucy said: "At first we thought it was just a random robbery attempt but then it just kept happening along with more notes coming through the door and items being thrown at doors and windows, and even the children's Wendy house, which has resulted in the children waking up terrified every night."
In a desperate attempt to catch whoever is responsible the couple have been taking it in turns to keep watch at night while the other sleeps.
The couple, both full time mums, say their family, friends and neighbours have been 'absolutely horrified' by what they have been subjected to.
Lucy said: "Our relatives and friends are always checking in on us to see how we are doing and how they can help. They have been absolutely amazing throughout all of this.
"Our neighbours have also been amazing, doing all they can do to try and keep us safe.
"One neighbour even got us a 6ft gate built at the side of our house so there is no easy access to our back garden any more.
" We honestly cannot thank them enough."
Lucy also thanked police for their support and for assisting the couple to get security features fitted around their home.
She said: "I really can't thank the police enough for all that they have done and are doing to help keep me and my family safe."
The couple have also applied to Calico to be moved to a new home in a bid to end their nightmare.
Anyone who has any information relating to the incidents is asked to contact the police quoting log reference: LC-20210315-1546 and crime reference 04/45193/21