Saturday 3 December 2016

'I can't even go out for a walk on my own any more' - woman attacked by thugs outside her home

Donna Deeney

Published 01/10/2016 | 11:35

Jermaine McBride was punched repeatedly during raid on her home
Jermaine McBride was punched repeatedly during raid on her home

A woman brutally attacked by one of two robbers being chased by police has welcomed a 12-year sentence handed down to the thug who has left her mentally scarred.

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Jermaine McBride, a hairdresser, was at her home in the Waterside in Derry in April 2015 when she noticed a car screeching into the quiet cul-de-sac.

The two occupants jumped out and headed straight for her driveway.

Instinctively she knew she was in danger and made for her front door, which was unlocked.

But before she could turn the key Michael Nolan (39) flung the door open and pushed his way into her home.

Nolan and his accomplice Henry Marley (34), who ran around the side of Ms McBride's property, had earlier attempted to hold up Donemana Credit Union armed with a wheel brace.

After fleeing they drove into Woodside Heights in the city in an attempt to evade pursuing police.

The pair were sentenced in Derry Magistrates Court, where Nolan, from Newtownabbey, was jailed for 12 years, and Marley, of no fixed abode, was given four years.

Ms McBride said she was relieved her attackers were behind bars, but said they will be just as big a danger to the public when they are back on the streets.

"These two had over 300 previous convictions between them when I was attacked," she said.

"Nolan, the one who beat me, had only been released from jail seven weeks earlier, so it hadn't done him any good.

"He should not be allowed out again because he will maybe kill someone next time.

"I was in my home doing someone's hair when this car pulled into the street and I just knew they were dangerous, so I ran out to lock the front door, but before I reached it Nolan had pushed it open.

"He roared at me 'give me the keys of the car', but I told him I didn't have the keys and that's when he punched me in the face.

"I fell to the floor but he kept punching me, he lifted me up by the hair and punched me in the face.

"I was in total shock, but I managed to call to the woman whose hair I was doing to phone the police and that's when I think he realised I wasn't on my own.

"He pushed past me and went to get the other woman, but she jammed herself into the room.

"I managed to run outside and across the street to the house opposite where I got the woman inside to ring the police.

"I went back over to my house again to the woman and he had got in to her.

"She was giving him her keys, but he punched her too before he ran out and drove off in her car."

The police quickly caught up with Nolan and Marley, who were arrested.

Seventeen months later the pair were finally sentenced for the horrendous attack on Ms McBride and the robbery attempt in Donemana.

Ms McBride said she still hadn't fully recovered from her ordeal - and worries if she ever will.

"I can't even go out for a walk on my own any more or go into a multi-story car park," she explained.

"I changed the locks in my house and keep the doors locked all the time.

"I don't open it to anyone I don't know, so this still affects me badly.

"But what it has taught me is to be overly cautious and aware that there is danger everywhere, even in your own house, and I would definitely encourage other people to take every precaution to keep themselves safe."

Belfast Telegraph

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