Police hunt red car after woman killed in hit-and-run

A woman killed in a hit-and-run outside a west Belfast pub was struck by a red car, police said tonight.

Anne Marie Dinneen, 38, died minutes after she left the Whitefort Inn on the Andersonstown Road.

Her 37-year-old best friend suffered serious head and leg injuries in the incident.

She is tonight in a serious condition in the city’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

Ms Dinneen, of Southlink in west Belfast, died at the scene around 1.30am.

The officer leading the inquiry urged the driver of the car to turn themselves in.

Inspector Norman Haslett said: “This is a terrible tragedy, and I would like to offer my condolences to the family.

“I would also like to send a message to the person responsible.

“Do the right thing, please come forward and talk to police.

“We have a woman dead, and another, seriously ill in hospital.

“These women were best friends, and had been for many years.

“The repercussions of this awful incident will be felt for many years to come.”

The PSNI released information about the vehicle and appealed for the co-operation of the west Belfast community.

Insp Haslett said: “We believe that a small, red hatchback type car was involved in the incident.

“We do not know if it was stolen, but it will now have frontal damage.

“The front registration plate may be damaged.

“The registration includes the letter Z and the numbers 3 and 8.”

After the incident the car is believed to have travelled towards the city centre through the Kennedy Way Roundabout and towards the Upper Falls Road.

Local politicians also appealed for anyone with information about the tragedy to come forward.

Sinn Fein’s Michael Ferguson said he was shocked by the latest road fatality in the area.

The West Belfast MLA said: “This is the third death in West Belfast in seven days and the third road death in the same area in several months.

“It is dreadful that in this case the driver left the scene abandoning the dying and injured.

“I want to extend my sympathies to the bereaved and a prayer for the injured woman.”

SDLP West Belfast councillor Tim Attwood called on the police to crack down on motorists who drive recklessly in the area.

Mr Attwood said the Falls Road, which leads on to the Andersonstown Road, has the worst rate of road accidents in Northern Ireland.

In four years seven people have died and more than 800 have been injured.

The councillor said: “This latest hit-and-run collision only underlines the need for immediate action to catch drivers who are breaking the law with fatal consequences.”

Mr Attwood also urged witnesses to come forward.

He added: “The local community are shocked by this hit-and-run incident which has left a young woman dead and another woman seriously injured.

“Our sympathy goes out to the woman’s family and loved ones.

“I would encourage anybody who may have witnessed this hit-and-run to pass on information to the police.

“It is essential that we catch the person driving the car.”

A man was arrested tonight in connection with the incident.

Police also recovered the red car believed to be have been involved in the incident.

The PSNI confirmed that a red car was tonight recovered in Meadow Place, north Belfast.

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