Teenager robbed at gunpoint by cross-border gang in her home

Seagahan Road in Markethill
Seagahan Road in Markethill

A teenage girl feared for her life yesterday after a gun was pointed at her head during a robbery at her Markethill home.

A PSNI spokesman said four males approached the rear of her Co Armagh home on the Seagahan Road and pointed a suspected handgun through window at the 17-year-old female - named locally as Chloe Hawthorne - who was alone in the house at the time.

After refusing to open the back door, the armed gang smashed a half glass panel of a door and “climbed through the opening into the utility room and again pointed the gun at the female demanding her car keys”.

After telling the gang the location of the spare set of car keys - which they took along with her mobile phone - they made off in her white Ford Fiesta car.

The car was recovered in RoI later yesterday evening and has been recovered for further examination.

Prior to the incident involving the teenager, the gang was involved in a number of other incidents in the Markethill area.

A PSNI spokesman said shortly after 5.40pm it was reported that entry was forced to a house on Damoily Road. The house was ransacked and a number of items of jewellery, watches and a legally held firearm stolen.

And shortly before 4.40pm it was reported that a number of males in a Vauxhall Insignia collided with a Ford car on the Seagahan Road close to the junction of Redrock Road. The males made off from the scene. The female driver of the Ford car was treated in hospital for a number of non-life threatening injuries. The Vauxhall car, which had been reported stolen in RoI has been recovered for further examination.

Detective Inspector Stephen Harvey is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incidents or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact Detectives in Lurgan by calling 101 quoting reference number 868 or 954 of 11/10/16. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Newry & Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin slammed the criminal gang responsible for the serious armed attack involving the teenager.

“It is totally shocking that a girl in the house was put through a horrific ordeal by the gang who were armed with a hand gun and threatened her in order to get the keys to the vehicle and they then fled the scene in the car,” he said.

“I understand the girl saw the attackers coming to the house and quickly locked the door, however the gang broke through the door. My thoughts are with the individual at this time as she gets over this awful ordeal it has been such a massive shock for her.

“I am aware that both the PSNI and the Garda are co operating in an ongoing operation on both sides of the border to apprehend those responsible and hopefully those behind this attack can be brought before the courts. The issue of criminal gangs carrying out these types of sprees and disappearing back over the border is a huge concern and it is vital that Police on both sides of the border do everything possible to robustly stamp out this serious criminal activity.”