A Limavady pensioner has spoken of the terrifying moment she was targeted by hooded men in a street robbery in the town.
Frances McIntyre, aged 72, was walking home from bingo on Wednesday evening, December 17, at around 9.30pm when the ordeal happened. As the local Foyle Hospice volunteer made her way down Market Street two males confronted her. One grabbed her from behind, by the shoulders, demanding money. Despite Frances saying she had no money one of the males, she believes was aged around 16, grabbed her glasses from her pocket and ran off in the direction of Catherine Street.
While Frances was not physically injured, she was left badly shaken. She sought help from a member of the public standing outside a local bar, and staff from a local hotel who called police.
“I don’t think it hit me. Just as I went into the hotel the wee girl said ‘are you okay, Frances?’ and I said ‘not really.’ She made me a cup of tea and then brought me a glass of brandy,” said Frances, who has volunteered locally for many years.
“I hope this is a one-off, and I don’t want to say anything bad about the youth. I would like them to be caught and get a good warning. Maybe they come from a good home. They should go out and enjoy themselves and go to their dances, but leave everybody else alone.”
SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan knows Frances well.
“I find it very disturbing that people would tackle someone as vulnerable as Frances,” said Colr. Mullan. “Frances is very forgiving, very charitable and very positive and she will overcome this, but it’s very sad people have to stoop to such levels. It’s a dastardly act and I hope whoever did this is brought to book.”
Limavady PSNI Sergeant Ian Hunt has described the street robbery as “an extremely rare type of incident” for the town and said officers are carrying out detailed enquiries to establish the identities of the two men involved.
“In the lead up to Christmas there has been an increase in the number of officers deployed in Limavady to help keep people safe, but I would still ask members of the public to work along with police, by reporting any suspicious behaviour, to help ensure a peaceful festive season for all,” added St. Hunt.
“I would ask anyone who witnessed this incident or who has any information which could assist our enquiries to contact CID in Limavady on 101.”