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PSNI officer has recurring nightmares after Ardoyne attack

Policewoman was seriously injured when a concrete block was dropped on her from above during rioting in July.

Protesters clash with police in the Ardoyne Road area on 12 July 2010.
Protesters clash with police in the Ardoyne Road area on 12 July 2010.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A PSNI OFFICER STILL SUFFERS severe pain and recurring nightmares after being seriously injured during a three-day riot in Ardoyne last July, a Belfast court heard today.

The female officer was struck with a concrete block which was dropped onto her head and shoulders from above.

One of 48 officers injured in the Ardoyne violence, she continued to come under fire from rioters as her colleagues pulled her to safety. Parmedics who came to her aid were also struck by stones thrown by rioters.

A statement from the officer was read out to the Belfast Magistrates Court at the trial  of 26 persons charged in connection with the Ardoyne disturbances, including one man who is charged with causing the woman grievous bodily harm, the BBC reports.

In that statement, she described hearing the “horrifying” sound of her falling after being struck by the block.

Last July, while the policewoman was still in hospital, her father gave a radio interview in which he criticised the low number of arrests made during the riots. He said he had seen people striking police shields with planks of wood without getting arrested, UTV reported. He also claimed police tactics had left their officers exposed to the violence.

Today the judge released all but three of the accused on continuing bail, and dismissed a defence request for the grievous bodily harm charge to be dropped. All 26 must return for trial at a date yet to be fixed.

Riots erupted in the Ardoyne area on 12 July as annual Orange Order parades took place across Northern Ireland. Three days and nights of violence and vandalism followed. The PSNI estimated the violence cost the force £1m, and Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said local residents had told him that they did not want this violence.

Dozens of arrests came in the months after the violence. The PSNI defended its delay in arresting people by saying it was not always appropriate or possible to arrest people in the midst of such events.

This video shows some of what took place in Ardoyne, north Belfast, during the riots in mid-July:

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