Belfast Telegraph

Woman frightened after sinister approach by man

By Dave Whelan

A south Belfast woman says that she feels "intimidated" and "frightened" following a sinister incident on one of Belfast's busiest arterial routes

The woman said that she is now frightened to walk alone and has warned others to be vigilant after the incident on the Lisburn Road area.

Kathryn McGowan (21) was returning home from work on Tuesday evening (November 26) when man in a blue car drove along beside her under the bridge near Stockman's Lane and attempted to get her attention. "He was shouting out of the window and I tried to ignore it and hoped that it was someone acting a fool," she explained.

"When I didn't give the car my attention I noticed the man motioning towards the door as if he was going to jump out and pull me into the car.

"At the time there was no one about and the car came to a stop but as cars came through the traffic lights and got closer, he drove off."

This incident occurred just a day after figures released by Justice Minister David Ford showed that a quarter of Ulster's known sex offenders were living in areas of south and east Belfast.

Following a question in the assembly by DUP MLA Jonathan Craig, Mr Ford revealed a total of 254 known sex offenders were living in PSNI's B district, which includes areas of east Belfast and the university heartland of south Belfast.

It has been suggested that low rent accommodation in student areas had become a target for a number of offenders.

Ray Farley of the Holyland's Residents Association said that while any suggestion would be speculation, there would be worries around such high figures.

"While I wasn't aware of these figures, I think there is a need to bring them to the attention of the students living in the area.

"We have a scenario where by many students are coming into the city for the first time and are maybe not as careful or vigilant as they should be and I urge them to take care.

A total of 1,080 convicted sex offenders are being monitored in total across Northern Ireland.

South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey while he understood the figures were intensified because of the inclusion of a number of hostels in the area and the city centre, he had worked closely with police to ensure south Belfast did not become a "dumping ground".

"As a policing board member the issue of public safety is an issue I would have raised often with the PSNI," he said.

"Our main aim is to guarantee public safety and address their concerns."

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