Belfast Telegraph

Twelfth 2015: Man arrested over attempted murder after girl hit by car at Ardoyne riot

Policeman's ear severed after being hit by masonry during violence

By Claire Williamson

A man arrested after a teenage girl was struck by a car during a north Belfast riot is being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder.

Police officers had to lift the car onto its side to free the teenager, who got trapped underneath the vehicle outside the Ardoyne shops.

The driver was arrested at the scene.

Today police revealed he is being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder.

The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and another woman and police officers were also hit by the vehicle in an area tightly packed with nationalist demonstrators.

A number of baton rounds were fired and a water cannon was used to try and control the crowds as violence erupted on the return leg of the Twelfth of July parade in north Belfast.

The parade was barred from walking along a stretch of the Crumlin Road which separates unionist and nationalist communities. This is the third year in a row the Parades Commission has refused the Orange Order permission for the return route.

The girl's condition was last night described as stable.

She is believed to be undergoing surgery today for a shattered pelvis.

Meanwhile a senior police officer, who was one of 24 injured during the rioting in north Belfast, is to undergo surgery to reattach his ear after it was "effectively severed" after being hit by masonry.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning ACC Stephen Martin said in another case only a motorcycle glove prevented an officer's finger from being bitten off.

An officer required 12 stitches on his hand after being bitten.

He was among a number of officers who were injured but remained on duty.

Seven men and two women were arrested during the trouble.

Mr Martin criticised the marshaling of the Orange Order parades on Monday night.

He said: "I would want to pay tribute to the officers who were under my leadership yesterday. They did a professional and brave job.

"At one stage they were in the middle of three opposing factions. They did their duty with courage and professionalism and the humanity of policing was shown very strongly when ... they manhandled that car up on its end so that that young girl could be rescued (from underneath)."

He said another woman hurt in the collision suffered a suspected fractured wrist.

"We had hoped for more effective marshalling of the parades yesterday. There was marshalling that occurred last year in north Belfast that did not occur this year in north Belfast, that is regrettable."

The senior officer said the violence was not orchestrated by paramilitaries and blamed young people exploiting the tense situation.

He noted efforts by loyalist and republican community leaders, including Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly, to defuse tensions.

Police are gathering evidence about the wider rioting as well as breaches of determinations designed to govern Orange Order marches, both allegedly while demonstrators paraded close to Catholic churches in north and east Belfast.

Further reading:

Ardoyne: Teen girl trapped under car and 24 officers hurt as violence erupts at Belfast flashpoint

Twelfth 2015: Clean-up operation in north Belfast after disorder

The inevitable violence at Ardoyne: stop blaming others and sort it out

Twelfth 2015: Smiles and aching feet as 100,000 defy rain

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