Belfast 'machete man' flees after threatening hospital staff
Police were unable to locate a man who was spotted wielding a knife - believed to have been a machete - after he was removed from the Royal Victoria Hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The individual, who had been abusive to nursing staff, threatened hospital security staff with the blade after he was removed from the hospital.
He is then understood to have made his way into the neighbouring Beechmount estate and jumped over a wall into the grounds of St Mary's University College. Police were called to the scene at around 2am.
An eyewitness said that the incident had been attended by around 15 heavily-armed police officers, but branded the pursuit of the suspect "chaotic".
"I believe the man hopped the fence into St Mary's University College and the police officers couldn't get over it, so they had to wait for 10 minutes to get bolt cutters," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"I didn't see any helicopter support either, and a dog unit came out but the dog didn't get out of the vehicle. The police cars were just driving around the estate in circles. It was all a bit chaotic and they left without apprehending the man."
A PSNI spokesperson said that "enquiries are ongoing to locate the man". He stated: "Police in west Belfast were called to an incident at the Royal Victoria Hospital at around 2am on Wednesday, June 21, after a man was removed from the premises.
"After being removed from the hospital grounds, the man produced a knife and threatened security staff.
"Officers attended and proceeded to carry out searches in the area for the suspect, who was reported to have left on foot in the direction of Shiels Street."
A hospital spokesperson said: "We had an incident last night when a person became abusive to nursing staff and refused to leave. Security staff intervened and the man was escorted from the site. The PSNI were contacted and remained vigilant, ensuring that the man did not return."