29/05/2008

Investigation After Mother And Child Kidnapped

A major investigation has been launched by police, following the kidnap of a woman and her four-year-old child for a ransom demand.

The Co Down woman - the partner of a man employed by a financial institution - and her young son were taken from their home near Killough on Wednesday and held for 12 hours in a vacant house in the Ravenhill area of south Belfast.

The captors held the mother and son, while her partner was ordered to get hold of a sum of money and leave it somewhere in the greater Belfast area.

However, at around 8pm on Wednesday, the woman managed to free herself and son from the house and alerted police - but the assailants made off with the cash.

"Here we have a mother and a four-year-old child, two vulnerable members of the community, who have been subjected to a frightening ordeal by a gang of organised criminals who cared only for their own personal gain," Detective Superintendent Karen Baxter told reporters.

"While we know that the woman and her child were not physically harmed, one can only imaging the fear they must have felt as every hour went by, not knowing where their husband and father was, and hoping they would be set free unharmed."

A police spokesman said the mother and child were "badly shaken" by the ordeal, however were not physically harmed.

(JM)

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