Belfast Telegraph

Review knife laws after stabbing of women in Coleraine: MLA

Police investigators at the scene of an incident in Coleraine in the early hours of Monday morning
Police investigators at the scene of an incident in Coleraine in the early hours of Monday morning
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

An Assembly member has called for a review of the law on the control of knives after two young women were stabbed in Coleraine.

SDLP's John Dallat issued the plea in the wake of the attack on the 22 year-olds in the Beresford Avenue area on Sunday night.

The incident happened just yards from St Malachy's Primary School's gates and a blood stain was still visible on the footpath yesterday.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder shortly after the attack and remained in police custody last night.

The women were taken to hospital where their wounds were described as "serious but not life threatening".

One woman who lives on the Beresford Road heard screaming shortly before 11.30pm.

She said: "I was in my bed reading when I heard screaming but to be honest I thought it was just young people messing about because that happens fairly often here at the weekends.

"I didn't bother to look out but I was so shocked when I opened the curtains in the morning and saw all the police cordons and the guys there in their forensic suits.

"It is dreadful to think that those two young girls had been stabbed so close to our home."

Another resident added: "I wouldn't go out of my house after 9pm especially at the weekends, because I just don't feel safe.

"You hear so much about knife crime but it is only when it is literally at your front door that you realise how bad things are.

"This is a terrible situation and I hope those two young girls will be okay but I would say it will take them a long time to get over this terrible ordeal."

Condemning the attack, SDLP MLA Mr Dallat supported a review of the law.

"Knives are lethal weapons and lethal weapons kill people and those who carry them do not do so for decoration," he said.

"This incident in Coleraine brings barbarity to a new low level and creates an image of lawlessness.

"This is not true and most unfair to Coleraine, but we cannot ignore the fact that knives are increasingly used to attack people, too often with fatal consequences.

"While I cannot pass comment on the particulars of this case, I do know that it raises serious questions about the law and how it applies to those who have no legitimate reason for carrying these weapons which, sadly, are all too readily accessible.

"I wish the two girls a speedy recovery and hope that they receive the counselling they will undoubtedly need to cope with this dreadful experience."

PSNI Inspector David Jennings appealed for anyone who saw two males running off to contact them.

Officers can be contacted on 101, quoting reference 1220 13/01/19.

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