Man jailed over attempt to kidnap female student


A Belfast man who tried to kidnap a female student inside her apartment block was today jailed for four-and-and-a-half years.

Passing sentence at Belfast Crown Court, a judge told Gareth Robert McClurg that he assessed him as being “dangerous” and said he would spend a further three years on licence on his release from prison “to protect the public”.

McClurg, 24, formerly of Tower Street, had pleaded guilty in June on the morning his trial was due to start to a charge of attempted kidnapping.

Prosection lawyer Mark Farrell said the university student was returning to her apartment in Belfast city around tea time on August 24, 2015. He told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that she let herself into the secure communal area of the complex and noticed a male person behind her.

“As she was walking towards the lift she felt some male grab her from behind, put his hand over her mouth and dragged towards the door to the car park.”

The court heard that during her attempts to scream for help, McClurg repeatedly said to her “Sssh”.

“She began to struggle with him during the incident, which lasted no more than five to ten seconds, before the defendant eventually let go of her.”

The victim was able to get into the lIft, said Mr Farrell, before making her way to her upstairs apartment.

The judge heard that CCTV footage showed McClurg struggling to get the door to the apartment block open before eventually escaping.

The student was able to give a description of her attacker but was unable to pick up him out of an ID system.

Crime scene investigators later visited the apartment block and recovered fingerprints from the door which were later matched to the defendant, the court heard.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said that whatever McClurg’s motive for trying to kidnap the female student, she believed the motive was for a “sexual assault”.