Car hijacking by hooded gang: Mother-of-two tells of horror moment she was dragged from car in Belfast
A mother-of-two has told of the moment she was dragged from her car during a "horrendous" car hijacking in Belfast.
Janine Jackson had just finished some Christmas shopping in Belfast along with her best friend Helen Marks on Saturday when a group of men ordered them out of their car in a car park at Dunbar Link at about 6.50pm.
The 41-year-old from Ballymena told the Belfast Telegraph: "We both got in to the car and I went to pull the door shut and I felt something was stopping it. And the next thing somebody said 'Get the f*** out of the car'.
"I looked up and there was a young male with a hood up over him and he said again, 'Get the f*** out of the car and leave everything."
Initially Mrs Jackson didn't think they were serious but then panic set in.
She said: "I jumped out and started screaming and I was yelling for Helen to get out of the car.
"I noticed there was five of them. Helen got out, both of us looked at each other and ran.
"At that stage the driver was getting ready to go and a young fella jumped in the back seat. There were two in the front and three in the back."
The friends ran to 21 Social nightclub where a doorman rang the police.
They are relieved that they got away without injury.
She said: "I thought they could have a knife and all I wanted to do was run and get away. I was really panicking because I thought they still had Helen in the car but she got out.
"In some respects we were really lucky because they could have done anything."
Mrs Jackson said when she closes her eyes she can still hear the man shouting.
"I see his face with the hood up and grabbing my arm pulling me out of the car. I just keep thinking to myself, just thank God I'm OK. I'm not physically hurt but mentally it will take quite a bit of time."
She added: "I still can't believe that somebody actually did that and that it was done at 6.50pm in Belfast and in a car park where there were still lots of cars and it was a really bright night."
Mrs Jackson works late at night and admits she will be "petrified" for the next while as she makes her way home.
She said: "You just never expect that to happen to you. It's not in a wee road somewhere, it's actually in a pay and display car park.
"I probably will be petrified if I hear a noise or anything because you just never expect five males doing that to you. The reason why I'm trying to say to people is to make them aware that there are guys out there, young, old, whoever, doing that and just for people to be so careful."
She added: "I think it was one of those things that will take a bit of time to come to terms with but I just thank God that nobody was hurt."
After the gang took off, the stolen vehicle was later crashed into another car on the Falls Road in west Belfast at about 7pm.
A woman and child in the other car suffered minor injuries. The car was then found abandoned at Devonshire Place at about 8.15pm.
Police have appealed for anyone who may have witnessed the hijacking or the road traffic collision to contact them.