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Police launch murder bid probe as officer injured in hit-and-run

By David Young

Published 07/11/2015

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers

A police officer is seriously ill in hospital after being crushed between a lorry and a police vehicle in south Armagh. Police are treating the incident as attempted murder.

Ambulances raced to the scene at Mullaghduff Road, Cullyhanna at lunchtime yesterday.

The officer, who suffered head injuries, was given emergency first aid and then airlifted by helicopter to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The constable was part of a local policing team carrying out follow-up inquiries linked to the overnight theft of an ATM in the Newry area. PSNI Superintendent Simon Walls said: "Police were travelling along the Mullaghduff Road, in Cullyhanna earlier today when they encountered a suspicious lorry transporting a car.

"As one of the officers exited the police vehicle to speak to the driver, the lorry was driven at speed directly at the officer, striking him and pinning him between the lorry and a police patrol vehicle. The lorry then fled the scene.

"From the accounts of those at the scene, this appears to have been a deliberate act and as such we will be treating this incident as the attempted murder of a police officer. The officer's colleagues rushed to help him, providing emergency first aid. "The constable is still undergoing medical assessment. However, we understand that while his injuries are serious, they are not thought to be life-threatening.

"I am sure the local community in south Armagh will join us in condemning this callous incident and in wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.

"We are keen to locate the driver and the lorry involved, described as low loader with a white cab, a yellow bumper, a red low-loader body and carrying a white or silver vehicle.

"Anyone who can assist the police investigation should contact Newry reactive and organised crime detectives by calling 101, or anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Local Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy said: "It's a matter of great concern that an incident of this nature has taken place - and that a police officer has suffered serious injuries in the course of carrying out his duties.

"It has all the hallmarks of a very serious criminal act, and I call on anyone with information to contact the police immediately.

"My thoughts tonight are very much with the injured officer, and I want to send my good wishes to him and his family for a speedy recovery."

On social media, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said: "I'm very concerned to hear a PSNI officer injured in the line of duty. I wish him a speedy recovery and wholeheartedly condemn those responsible."

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