| 17.4°C Belfast

Woman thrown to ground during 'terrifying' Belfast hijacking


The scene where the attempted hijacking took place

The scene where the attempted hijacking took place

The scene where the attempted hijacking took place

A woman thrown to the ground during a hijacking in south Belfast endured a "terrifying" and "shocking" ordeal.​

The vehicle theft took place on the Ormeau Road around midnight on Thursday.

The victim was targeted by a man as she was getting out of her car, a Fiat 500, outside a takeaway outlet close to Fitzroy Avenue. ​

She was approached by the hijacker who then threw her to the ground before fleeing the scene in her vehicle, making off towards Belfast city centre at speed.​

The woman, whose vehicle was later recovered from Fairhill Park in north Belfast during the early hours of yesterday morning, sustained cuts and bruising as a result of the incident.​

Police have taken away the car for examination.​

The hijacking comes weeks after a man was dragged from a BMW car in an early morning incident in Coalisland, Co Tyrone.​ In this incident, in May, the perpetrator then fled the scene in the car.

There were 43 personal hijackings and 10 business hijackings in Northern Ireland during 2018-19 - one a week on average, according to PSNI statistics reported by the BBC.

Paula Bradshaw, the Alliance MLA for South Belfast, said the victim had been subjected to a horrifying ordeal.

"My sympathies go to the victim of what was clearly a terrifying attack. No one going about their business should face such an ordeal," she told the Belfast Telegraph. ​

"I would urge anyone who saw anything at all, no matter how apparently minor, to call the PSNI on 101."​

Her comments were echoed by SDLP councillor, Gary McKeown, who represents the area.

He described the incident as "shocking and upsetting", adding that his thoughts are with the woman.​

"People need to be able to go about their daily business without fear of becoming victims of incidents like this," he said.

"And I would urge anyone with any information to please make contact with the PSNI or Crimestoppers."

Detective Sergeant Rachel Miskelly urged anyone with information, or who may have witnessed the incident, to contact detectives at Musgrave on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 6 10/07/20.​

"Or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/," she added.

Belfast Telegraph