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Agincourt attack witness ‘terrified’

Carjack witness too scared to drive car

By Scott Jamison

An eyewitness to the latest attempted carjacking in South Belfast has said she is now too scared to drive by herself in case would-be hijackers attempt to steal her car.

Laura Cole from the Holyland said she was “terrified” following the attempted hijacking of the car in Agincourt Avenue by four masked men in the early hours of Sunday (January 22).

Around 00.15am, the gang tried to stop a female driver by standing in front of her car. The woman locked her doors, meaning the men couldn’t open the vehicle and she was able to drive off.

It is the latest in a series of carjackings across the city in the past three weeks, with South Belfast seeing incidents or attempted incidents in Rugby Road, Stockman’s Lane, Chadwick Street and Ashley Drive in addition to Agincourt Avenue.

Last Thursday (January 19) police revealed they had established a special task force to deal with the crimewave, which has mainly seen female drivers targeted.

Agincourt Avenue resident Laura said she had been returning from a family party when she saw the incident take place.

“I had been dropped off by a friend and was just going into my house when I heard shouting and tyres screeching towards the Ormeau Road end of Agincourt Avenue.

“I looked down and there were a number of guys with scarves and hoods pulled up around their faces shouting at a car that was speeding off. It was dark and I couldn’t see who was in the car but since then heard it was a woman they tried to hijack.

“I was scared and ran into my house to ring the police. I watched the guys run off towards the Ormeau Road. I’m glad they decided to give up then and I’m really glad the driver was okay.”

The student said she had been so scared by the incident she has since not gone out on her own.

“I had a bit of running about to do on Monday but I made sure my brother came with me as I didn’t want to be sitting in a car by myself. It’s just too scary now for women especially to be on their own when driving.

“It’s been happening more and more around here and until the culprits are caught, I won’t be on my own. I’m keeping my car where I can see it from my window as well, just to be on the safe side.”

Meanwhile, Gerard Rice of the Lower Ormeau Action Group said it was highly likely the culprit’s movements were caught on CCTV.

“The Holyland is one of the most heavily monitored areas in the city in terms of CCTV cameras, so I’d like to think their movements were captured and could be used by police to identify them,” he told the South Belfast News.

Last Thursday, three males, aged 18, 19 and 24, were released on bail after being arrested in connection with the recent spate of carjackings. On January 4, a 15-year-old male was charged by police after the Rugby Road incident.

Anyone with information on any of the hijackings or attempted hijackings is asked to contact police at Musgrave Street on 0845 600 8000 or they can speak confidentially to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.




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