Belfast Telegraph

Worker back in shop day after gun put to her head

By Brendan McDaid

A shop assistant says she had visions of her own death after a gun was put to her head during an armed robbery.

Despite her terrifying ordeal on Sunday afternoon, courageous Christine McGinley was back at work in a corner shop yesterday — although she admitted she was still badly shaken by the incident.

Ms McGinley (32) was on her own at the Academy Stores shop in Londonderry when the gunman struck at around 4.50pm.

She emerged from a storeroom in the Mountjoy Terrace shop to find a hooded man had jumped over the counter and seized a sum of cash put aside for the following day’s till.

“I heard the door open and close,” said Ms McGinley.

“When I came out he put the gun to my face. I just froze.

“When the gun appeared in front of my face I was just having visions of my face being blown off.

“He didn’t speak, he didn’t touch me.

“I couldn’t believe this was happening during the day, although it was already dark.

“You just expect something like this to take place at night.

“I am working here nine years and I have never had anything like this happen before.”

The brave shop assistant said her ordeal was made all the more frightening because the robber had struck under the cover of a thick fog.

Nor was she aware that there was an accomplice keeping watch outside in the shadows.

“It was getting dark and the fog was there. I couldn’t see his face as he had a scarf over it and a hood up.

“I could only see his eyes,” she revealed.

“I didn’t know the other man was there until I ran outside to see what direction they were going to.

“I pressed the panic button as the man with the gun was leaving the shop and ran out trying to dial 999, but I hit every digit except nine as I was shaking so much.

“I was very shaken, I think I was talking ninety to the dozen afterwards.

“There were no customers and when I came out into the street, there was not a car and not a being in sight, which is unusual as this place is always busy with cars going past.”

Security camera footage from a nearby business was being examined by police yesterday.

The two men made their getaway on foot down the steep slope of Academy Road.

Ms McGinley said she returned to her work to try and stop the incident haunting her.

“There has been a lot of people in checking on me, offering their help.

“I am still a bit shaky every time the door opens. I was going to take the day off but I can’t. If I did I would just think it over and over.

“My nerves are wrecked.”

Detectives in Strand Road have issued an appeal for information.

A spokeswoman said: “Detectives would ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident or who has any information to contact them at Strand Road on 0845 600 8000. Or they can contact Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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