Knife-point car hijack victim had just passed driving test


A young female motorist who had just passed her driving test was the victim of a knife-point hijacking in Belfast, the city’s Magistrates’ Court has heard.

Steven Conor Nicholas McCabe, of no fixed abode, was arrested on Monday evening following the aggravated theft of the vehicle.

The Toyota Yaris was stolen at knife-point from Pretoria Street in the Stranmillis area of south Belfast at around 2pm on Monday.

After forcing his way into the vehicle, the hijacker drove the vehicle a short distance before letting the female motorist out. The vehicle was recovered later that day on Crumlin’s Main Street after hitting another car.

The court heard on Wednesday that 18-year-old McCabe was located by officers in Crumlin at around 6pm on Monday. He was subsequently charged with a string of offences including aggravated vehicle taking causing damage, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of Class B drugs, common assault, driving with no insurance and failing to report an accident.

When it emerged that McCabe was making a bail application, a PSNI officer said police were objecting on the grounds of protecting the public.

The officer said the female victim was a young motorist who had just passed her driving test. As she was parking her car, she was approached by a male who produced a knife. It also emerged that when police gave chase to the stolen Yaris, several people were on board.

After the Yaris collided with another vehicle, McCabe was arrested in Crumlin and he subsequently “matched the description given”.

A defence lawyer told the court McCabe denied any involvement in hijacking or having a knife.

Magistrate Fiona Bagnall said: “If he is connected to the offences on the basis of fact, it is a very serious matter.” She added: “As far as I am concerned, I think there is a likelihood of reoffending and a need to protect the public. On the basis of the information I have received today, he will be remanded in custody.”

McCabe will appear in court again, via video link, on August 20.