‘We feared for our lives’

Shauna McDaid with Matthew (11yrs) and Cassie (4yrs).  (2703JB92)

Shauna McDaid with Matthew (11yrs) and Cassie (4yrs). (2703JB92)

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A Derry mother has told how her “perfect day” turned into a horror story as she and her children were confronted by a bloodied gunman who terrorised the people of Galliagh for two hours on Sunday evening.

Shauna McDaid was making her way from a day at the beach and park in Buncrana with her partner and two children, 11 and 3, when the man - brandishing what is now known to have been a firing pistol - jumped in front of their car just yards from their home.

“He just was there in front of us - pointing the gun right in at us. I couldn’t tell you what he looked like even - all I could see was the gun and his eyes and his face covered in blood.

“I didn’t know what to do. When you see someone in front of your car your instinct is to stop - I just squealed. The children were in the back of the car and they were squealing. My partner just grabbed the wheel and told me to drive.”

Shauna stopped her car a short distance down the road and when she looked in her rear view mirror could see the man chasing after her.

“I just drove on to a friend’s house. I don’t even know what I was doing. We were just terrified. We didn’t know who he was or what he wanted.”

Shauna said her children Matthew (11) and Cassie (3) have been left very shaken by the ordeal.

“We had the perfect day - it was heaven down at the beach and then we landed into this hell. The children have barely slept - I feel sick to my stomach thinking of what might have happened.”

Reports from others in the area say the man had also been seen carrying a petrol can and made threats to several people that he would shoot them or burn them. He held one 18 year-old girl by the neck, threatening to shoot her.

A man was arrested shortly after 9.30pm and remains in custody helping police with their enquiries.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information is asked to contact police at Strand Road on 0845 600 8000.