Belfast Telegraph

Crazed man on rampage held his gun to my neck

By Brendan McDaid

A teenager has described how she thought she was going to die when a crazed man grabbed her and put a gun to her neck.

Caoimhe McClean spoke of her horrific ordeal after the lone gunman honed in on her outside a primary school in Londonderry on Sunday night.

As he put the gun to her neck, Caoimhe said she thought her life was over just a day after her 18th birthday.

She was among hundreds of people left terrified after the gunman went on the rampage across numerous streets in the Galliagh and Carnhill estates.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph on Monday, the clearly shaken young Galliagh woman said: “I was with friends outside Carnhill Primary School. I heard young fellows shouting ‘run, there’s a gunman’.

“Then I saw this man coming towards us. He was wearing a bomber jacket. He just grabbed me by the hood.

“It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced. He put the gun to my neck. He said ‘Have you something to say?’ I said ‘no’.

“I just thought, ‘that’s me away’.”

Caoimhe managed to escape from the man when she used her shoulder to push him back and the gun slipped out of his hand.

“I just ran. Then I saw him coming around again and I thought, he is going to shoot,” she said.

“It didn’t matter where I ran to, I thought, because the bullet would just follow me. I knew the bullet would have got me. I just ran out into the road by the traffic lights and didn’t even look to see if there were cars coming.

“The whole thing was terrifying and it is with me now for life.”

Caoimhe’s distraught parents, Billy and Martina, rushed to their daughter’s aid after being alerted to what happened by Caoimhe’s older sister. On arrival they found the street swamped by police vehicles and ambulances as efforts were made to apprehend the man.

Caoimhe’s mother said: “Even without a gun, this would have been scary.”

Earlier on Sunday night, the man had rampaged through the Glendale estate while terrified residents tried to lock their doors and contact police without being spotted by him.

One woman who raised the alarm, but who did not want to be identified, said she witnessed the gunman point the weapon into a car with women and children in it.

“I could hear them screaming in the car,” she said. “He totally terrorised the place. The door was kicked in at a house up the street. A girl was squealing that she had kids in bed. He was just shouting at anybody who turned on the lights.

“I was petrified. He was in a crazy rage and using really foul language. There was just filth coming out of his mouth. He just seemed like he was a time bomb.”

The man fled after a group of local men confronted him just minutes before officers arrived on the scene.

“When they did come, the police saturated the place,” the woman said. “And the helicopter was out overhead.”

A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of carrying a firearm, making threats to kill and having articles to commit arson. He was apprehended in the Bloomfield/ Altcar Park area. A firing pistol and petrol can were recovered

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0845 6008000

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