You are viewing the content for Wednesday 1 February 2006

Gardaí search for clues along hijack victim’s route

By Sean O’Riordan
GARDAÍ believe they know some of the route travelled by a young woman who was abducted by a man on Monday in Co Cork.

The 25-year-old woman is still suffering from the ordeal, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes before she finally managed to jump out of the car and run for help.

Gardaí are hoping that when she is well enough she will help them retrace the exact path of her traumatic journey.

Her abductor held her seat belt around her neck and repeatedly told her to keep driving after he hijacked the car at a petrol station at White’s Cross, a few miles north of Cork City, at 8.44am last Monday.

He gave her no directions and warned her not to use her mobile phone. She eventually managed to escape near the village of Knockraha, 10 miles away.

Garda sources yesterday indicated they think they know some of the route and have appealed to anyone who spotted the woman’s wine-coloured 02-registered Ford Ka to contact them.

They believe that shortly after the hijacking the woman drove towards Upper Glanmire, then passed by the graveyard in Rathcooney and New Inn national school before heading down Barnavarra Hill into Glanmire.

She turned north by St Joseph’s Church and headed back into Upper Glanmire, where she would have passed the Boothouse Bar.

She continued past the Glanbia Co-Op at Buck Leary’s Cross before passing St Stephen’s hospital. From there she headed south again into the centre of Glanmire, through the heavily populated Hazelwood and Brooklodge estates, before passing under the Glanmire bypass near O’Connell Transport.

After that gardaí are unsure of which of a warren of country roads she took, or how long she was driving, before she was able to make her escape near Glenmore Stores at 10.05am. She jumped from the car after spotting a woman out walking. Her abductor ran after her but gave up and returned to the car.

It emerged yesterday that he initially tried to burn out the car by dropping lit matches into the fuel tank, but when that failed he set fire to papers which were in the back seat. The car was still being forensically examined yesterday.

Up to a dozen uniformed gardaí and detectives questioned motorists outside the filling station in White’s Cross yesterday morning.

Anybody with information is asked to contact Glanmire Garda Station at (021) 4821002 or Cobh garda station at (021) 4908530.

Keeping carjackers at bay

Sgt John Kelly, crime prevention officer in the region where the abduction and false imprisonment of the woman took place, issued the following advice:

* Lock your car at all times when getting out at petrol stations or any other businesses and take your mobile phone with you.

* Make sure nobody suspicious is near your car when you are getting back inside and immediately lock the car.

* If somebody gets in sound the horn or shout to attract attention.

* If a hijacker gets in keep trying to talk. It will build up contact and might throw their attention giving the driver an opportunity to escape.

* Try and escape where there are a lot of people about, it will frighten off the hijacker.