Belfast Telegraph

Thugs attack terrified women visiting grave at City Cemetery in west Belfast, then steal their car to go on five-hour rampage

By Deborah McAleese

Hijackers who attacked two vulnerable women as they visited a graveside went on a five-hour rampage through the streets of west Belfast in the stolen car.

The two "death drivers" were spotted speeding dangerously through the streets for a number of hours after they assaulted the terrified women, who are aged in their 60s and 70s, at the City Cemetery on the Falls Road shortly after 3pm on Monday.

One of the women is understood to have been punched in the face and her purse stolen before her car was hijacked.

West Belfast councillor Stevie Corr said he was "disgusted" by the attack. He also said it was lucky nobody had been killed in the road rampage.

The stolen car, a blue Renault Modus, was found burnt out at around 8.30pm in the Norglen Parade area of west Belfast. "This was a vile attack by two thugs on two defenceless women visiting a family grave. One of these women was punched in the face and had her purse stolen before the attackers drove off in their car," Mr Corr said.

"I got word after 8pm that they were driving around the Turf Lodge area. I contacted the police but the car was burned out just after that. These death drivers are very dangerous.

"The people who did this are not representative in any way of the people of west Belfast, who are appalled at the vicious and senseless nature of this attack."

It is believed this was an opportunistic crime, carried out by two repeat offenders from the Upper Springfield Road area. "This was opportunistic and from the sound of it these two thugs have done this stuff before. These kind of crimes are very violent and very quick," said Mr Corr. The PSNI has appealed for anyone with information about the attack to come forward.

One of the hijackers has been described as being 18 to 20 years old, between 5ft 10in and 6ft, of slim build with short black hair and stubble. He was wearing a blue hooded top and grey tracksuit bottoms.

The other man has been described as being 18 to 20 years old, about 5ft 10in and of medium build. He was wearing a black hooded top.

Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact CID at Woodbourne police station on the non-emergency number 101.

Story so far

A PSNI operation called Operation Rusico launched in 2012 helped reduce the number of carjackings across greater Belfast. However, there has been a resurgence of the crime in recent months.

Last month a female motorist was driven off in her own car by a hijacker in the Pretoria Street area of south Belfast. The hijacker, who was armed with a knife, forced his way into the woman's green Toyota Yaris and drove off with his frightened victim still inside.

And earlier this year a woman was dragged from her car in Rathcoole by two men who then took off in the vehicle.

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