Wendy and Adrian Ryan with daughters Khy, 8, and Khrystal, 7, in their Nimbin yard where a homemade bomb blew up.
Wendy and Adrian Ryan with daughters Khy, 8, and Khrystal, 7, in their Nimbin yard where a homemade bomb blew up. The Northern Star

Violent gang terrorises Nimbin family

A BOMB, a bashing and threats of further violence have Nimbin's Ryan family in fear of their lives.

Wendy Ryan and her husband, Adrian, have been using part of their property in Cullen Street as a de facto youth refuge called the Sound Lounge for the past two years.

Mrs Ryan said they had tried to establish it as a safe house from drugs, alcohol and violence in the town.

However, someone threw a homemade bomb into the Ryans' backyard, where several people live in vans and caravans, on Sunday afternoon.

No one was seriously hurt in the blast, but neighbours and business owners said the explosion could be heard from several hundred metres away.

Mrs Ryan said they had been warned something would happen because of escalating tensions between some of the young people staying at the Sound Lounge and another group of young people known as "The Laneway", who regularly sold drugs in the laneway next to the Nimbin Museum.

"We'd told the police the day before that something was going to happen, but they just brushed us aside," she said.

The violence did not end with the bombing.

On Sunday night, Sound Lounge resident Joey Brewster was attacked and received cuts to his face from a broken bottle.
 
Joey has since taken his mattress and belongings and fled because of fears there would be further violence.

He told Mrs Ryan that members of The Laneway had threatened to burn the place down.

"Joey said they had told him, out of respect for our family, they were going to give us a couple of days to get out," she said.

"It's not fair that we should have to leave our home."

Asked if she took the threats seriously, Mrs Ryan said she did, but didn't think the police were.

Paul Kielly, who has been working as a volunteer at the Sound Lounge for several years, agreed.

"The police don't care. If it (the explosion) had happened three doors up at the hardware store, they'd have been all over it," Mr Kielly said.

The Northern Star was unable to get a response from the police about the allegation, but Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Steve Clarke said they continued to place a focus on all drug-related offences in the community.

Mr Ryan told The Northern Star that someone from the Sound Lounge had approached members of The Laneway and started "peace talks" and the threat of further violence had been considerably reduced.


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