Have-a-go hero mum batters the thief who tried to steal her car
A fearless mother-of-two has revealed how "blind fury" made her tackle a thief who tried to steal her car at the weekend.
Melanie Harrison (39) thwarted the early morning raid by leaping into the passenger seat of her car and battering the would-be thief until he fled.
The unlikely drama unfolded as dawn broke on Saturday in the quiet cul-de-sac of Malone Chase in leafy south Belfast.
The opportunistic thief had crept through the open patio doors and swiped the TV and other possessions before trying to make his escape in Melanie's nearly-new red Volkswagen.
"I have two young sons so we would be up early in the morning," she said.
"I heard noises downstairs and thought it might have been next door. Then I came down to get juice for my two-year-old and saw the patio door wide open. The guy was in my car in the driveway trying to start the engine."
Melanie dashed outside and banged on the back window as he reversed the car.
The petite mother then jumped into the passenger seat and began hitting him around the face.
"I was leaning across the gearstick to prevent him changing gear," she said.
"I scratched his face and banged the car horn. He swung the car round and then rammed a neighbour's car. He smacked into it full force. I was still on top of him. I said 'you're caught, you're caught, you might as well get out of the car'. He didn't say a word and just ran off."
After dialling for police, the brave mum ran down to the main road to see if she could see where he went.
She praised police for their quick response.
"I wasn't frightened at all," she said. "I was just really angry that he had come into my house where my kids were. I felt really protective of them. I thought how dare he and how dare he steal my car. It was just blind fury. I'm a single mum and I can't afford to replace these things."
She added: "My little boy has been asking about the burglar but I have told him 'don't worry, he won't be back'."
A PSNI spokesman warned the public not to put themselves at risk by confronting thieves.
"While on this occasion the outcome was favourable, this may not always be the case," he said. "We would ask members of the public to always seek police assistance when confronted by a criminal.
"Personal safety should never be put at risk for the sake of personal possessions.
"Serious injuries are a lot harder to cope with than replacing household possessions."
A 21-year-old man appeared in court on Monday and has been remanded in custody.