Mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong passed away in the Royal Victoria Hospital last night surrounded by her family after being struck by a scrambler in Colin Glen Forest Park on Tuesday evening.
The PSNI confirmed the 35-year-old’s death. “Following a recent incident in Colin Glen Forest Park, mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong has passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. A 17-year-old male is due in Belfast Magistrates Court on Thursday charged in connection with the incident. A 15-year-old male has been released on police bail.”
Valerie was walking her dog on Tuesday evening when she was struck by the scrambler. She was taken to the RVH and never recovered from her injuries. Her family have donated her organs.
Colin Community worker Michael George said: “The local community is in shock, we would all like to offer our deepest thoughts and prayers to her husband Seamus and their family and this truly tragic time.”
SDLP West Belfast MLA Alex Attwood has expressed his condolences to the family and friends of Valarie Armstrong. He said: “On my own behalf and on behalf of the SDLP, I wish to express deep condolences to the family of Valerie and her next of kin. This is a profound tragedy, taking a young woman from her family. The sympathy of everybody is with the family in these terrible days.
“The circumstances of this incident raise again questions about activities involving these bikes. As a matter of great importance, the various authorities should again look at what further regulation and enforcement is needed to reduce the risk of further and future serious incidents.
“Once again, I wish to convey the sympathy of the party and of everyone I know.”
Superintendent Melanie Jones said: “I want to take this opportunity to remind the public that while the use of such motorised vehicles as a leisure activity can appear to be both exciting and fun, if used inappropriately, can be dangerous and against the law.
“We are aware of concerns in the local community about people riding scramblers and quads recklessly, especially in public parks, and I want to assure the public that we will take action to curb the nuisance and dangers associated with the use of off-road scramblers and quads in public areas.
“If vehicles are designed for use on roads, they should have the appropriate equipment fitted such as lights and number plates and the driver/rider should be the holder of a suitable driving licence and insurance. If vehicles are not designed for the road and not insured, they can only be used on private lands with the permission of the landowner.”
Superintendent Jones continued: “I would urge people to consider others in the areas where these vehicles are being used. Parents too are asked to play their part by considering how their children use these vehicles. Police also have the power to seize these vehicles. It is important that people recognise that this is a real possibility and has happened before. Police will enforce the necessary legislation in an effort to ensure public safety. As we have seen in Colin Glen Park, these vehicles can be very dangerous if not used legally and in a controlled environment.
“I would appeal to anyone who witnesses this type of activity in the area or who has any information to contact their local police on 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”