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Car attack knifeman brings Derry traffic to a standstill

By Leona O'Neill

A man in his 50s was arrested on Saturday evening following a knife incident in Londonderry city centre.

Police were called to Ferryquay Street shortly before 5.30pm after a man reported to be brandishing a large knife was blocking the road in front of a silver Seat Toledo car.

The vehicle, which had four males inside, could not move as the knife-wielding man lay across the bonnet, digging the weapon into the car, while traffic backed up behind.

The incident, which happened directly outside the Richmond Centre shopping mall, played out over 10 minutes.

A large crowd of shoppers gathered to watch events unfold, while traffic in the city centre came to a standstill.

Security officers at the Richmond Centre attempted to keep the ever-increasing numbers of shoppers at a safe distance until police arrived at the scene.

At one stage one of the occupants of the car got out and challenged the assailant, but was quickly ushered back into the vehicle by shopping centre security.

Five police officers arrived and shouted at the assailant to move away from the car and get on the ground.

He was then forcibly taken to the ground by the officers, who searched him and removed a knife from the bonnet of the car.

The assailant was handcuffed and taken to Strand Road PSNI station.

Witness Connor McLaughlin (22) said it was a shocking incident.

"We were driving home from doing some shopping in town and we saw a man walk out in front of the car in front of us," said the electrician.

"He had a knife and was digging it into the bonnet of their car.

"I really was shocked that someone could be so casual, walking around the town with a knife.

"It could have turned nasty."

The PSNI said enquiries into the incident were continuing.

It added: "Police received a report of a disturbance in Ferryquay Street at around 5.20pm yesterday.

"Officers attended and arrested a man in his 50s.

"A knife was recovered from the scene."

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