Hammer attack thug is sought over Belfast bus lane car attack
Police have confirmed they are hunting for violent criminal Gerard Donegan after a bus lane camera car was wrecked in west Belfast and a woman inside the vehicle was grabbed by the throat.
Donegan (37), who has spent more than half his adult life in prison, was previously jailed for a brutal hammer attack on a sleeping grandfather in 2003.
Last month, shocking footage emerged of a man climbing on top of a Department for Infrastructure vehicle, which had been parked in a bus lane on the Falls Road near Dunville Park.
The man is filmed kicking an already broken window and trying to rip off a roof-mounted camera.
After getting off the marked white car, the man, who appeared agitated, grabbed a woman who had been inside the vehicle by the throat. A male colleague at the scene intervened and traded blows with the assailant before wrestling him to the ground.
Almost a fortnight ago, locals told the Belfast Telegraph they believed the man in the video to be Donegan.
Yesterday, the PSNI took to social media to reveal they are "appealing for information" regarding Donegan's whereabouts in connection with the incident.
They said: "Officers investigating an incident of assault and criminal damage in west Belfast last month would like to speak to him as part of their ongoing enquiries. A man and woman were assaulted and a bus lane camera vehicle was damaged on Falls Road on April 17.
"Mr Donegan is also currently unlawfully at large after his licence was revoked by the Department of Justice. Officers would encourage anyone who knows of his current whereabouts, or has any information that could assist police, to call 101."
DUP councillor Brian Kingston condemned the attack as "shocking".
"Everyone must respect the law - people can't engage in violent vandalism and thuggery," he stated. "Whoever is responsible is acting against the interests of west Belfast.
"With the new Belfast Rapid Transit System coming in it is essential that people respect bus lanes, so these cameras are for the benefit of people here."
In 2003, Donegan and younger brother Kevin Barry Moyna broke into Maurice McCracken's Belfast home. They forced his wife to hand over the keys to a vehicle, and Donegan then hit her sleeping husband six times on the back of the head with a hammer, causing severe brain damage.
He was convicted of attempted murder, but served just over half of his 15-year sentence, and was freed in March 2011.
Five months later, armed with a knife, he tried to hijack a car in the centre of Belfast. He was jailed again, bringing his criminal record to over 60 convictions.
Before getting out of jail in 2014, he was involved in a brutal assault on a fellow inmate that left his victim needing medical attention. He also tried to escape from prison officers while on a hospital visit in Belfast, but was apprehended.
After Donegan was released from jail, he moved back to the Divis area of west Belfast.