PSNI arrest suspect after five women attacked in South Belfast
The investigation is ongoing
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have arrested a suspect in connection with three women being stabbed and two assaults in South Belfast this week.
The attacks, which all took place within a number of hours on Monday evening in South Belfast have created a wide spread public information campaign, with the PSNI pleading the members of the public to come forward with any evidence which may aid their inquiries.
The suspect who is a 38 year old male, was arrested following CCTV images being released.
Three of the victims were left with stab wounds but their conditions were not believed to be life threatening, whilst the other two victims were punched in the head.
We know that recent incidents in the area have caused students to be concerned about their safety. Student safety is always a priority, so we're here to help.
We have free personal safety alarms in the lobby of the SU building, so pop in, or contact Katie at [email protected] pic.twitter.com/K3xqbLsDRp
— QUBSU Officers (@QUBSUofficers) October 14, 2020
All of the victims are aged between 19 and 22, and it is not yet understood whether they are students at Queen’s University Belfast, which is located close to where all of the attacks took place.
The incidents all took place at separate intervals of an 80 minute purge of attacks. These were on Ormeau Avenue, Donegall Square West, Dunluce Avenue, University Road and the Dublin Road.
In a statement prior to the arrest, the PSNI released a statement confirming that increased patrols would be operating in the South Belfast area following the attacks.
The statement which was led by Chief Superintendent Simon Walls also warned women to stay safe and vigilant and to commute around the area in with groups of friends.
Horrific attack, apparently targeting 3 separate women over course of 2 hours. No one should have to feel anxious on our local streets. I recently co-sponsored @stellacreasy Westminster proposal to make misogyny a hate crime category & this underlines that need. Any info to PSNI https://t.co/tfArADzR3b
— Claire Hanna (@ClaireHanna) October 13, 2020
However, some students have criticised the statement, arguing that it contributes to an unhelpful narrative of gender roles and violence.
In response to the attacks, Queen’s University Belfast Students Union have made personal safety alarms free for all students who wish to avail of them. They can be collected from the Students Union building on Elmwood Avenue.
South Belfast SDLP MP Clare Hanna condemned the attacks on Twitter.
She described it as a “Horrific attack” and added that: “No one should have to feel anxious on our local streets”.
The PSNI are continuing to appeal for anybody with information to come forward.