Mum reunited with baby who was taken on a terrifying 45-minute ride after carjacking
An injured Claire O'Neill was pictured with young Eliza following what West Midlands Police described as a 'terrifying ordeal' in Acocks Green, Birmingham
This is the first picture of a mum reunited with her four-week-old baby daughter who was taken in a terrifying carjacking.
Clare O'Neill, 39, was heard screaming "my baby, my baby" as little Eliza was driven away still strapped in her car seat on Thursday afternoon (July 17). The brave mum desperately clung to her Audi A3 and was dragged down the road as it sped away following the attack in Acocks Green, Birmingham.
On Friday, police released an image of a bloodied and battered O'Neill smiling at the camera as she was reunited with her baby in hospital. Detectives are still hunting for the callous thugs who struck as O'Neill pulled up on her driveway at around 4pm.
After demanding the keys to her car, O'Neill frantically tried to get her daughter out of the vehicle but the thieves drove off with Eliza still inside. They dumped the newborn at Small Heath Health Centre four miles away around 45 minutes later where she was discovered by an ambulance crew still in her car seat.
O'Neill was taken to hospital for treatment, where she is still recovering from her injuries. Detective Inspector Jim Munro, from force CID, said: "This incident has shocked the whole of our force area and we will leave no stone unturned in our search for the offenders. We have a team of officers trawling through CCTV and speaking to residents in Marie Drive, as well as fast-tracking forensic analysis of the baby seat."
"We are asking anyone who may have seen the grey Audi A3 S-line with registration number BJ66 YLV since yesterday afternoon to contact us. We are delighted that mother and baby have been re-united and we wish Claire a speedy recovery."
Neighbours told on Thursday how they heard the mum screaming before seeing her cling to the vehicle and being dragged down the street.
Anjana Chavda, 66, a civil servant, said: "I thought they were just kids screaming. I went to my back bedroom window straight away. I saw a lady being dragged by the car. She was holding on to the car as it went down the street. She was clinging on with all her might but she lost her grip. I went into the front window and saw this car going down very fast. It was horrific."
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I thought it was a domestic when she was screaming — but it wasn’t a domestic. She tried to stop them. She was screaming ‘my baby, my baby’. She was on the floor and was hysterical.
"She was badly grazed on both legs. She obviously tried to stop them. The mother was cut up and I think she might have been taken away in an ambulance. She was distraught, extremely distraught — as you would obviously be."
“I saw the Audi drive away. When the car came down I only saw one person in it. I looked him straight in the face. He looked Asian but I wouldn’t swear to that."
Another local, who wished to remain anonymous, added: "I came out and saw the mum bleeding from her head and her legs, she was crying hysterically. She was inconsolable but I'm so glad the baby is safe and unharmed. The police need to catch these scum bags, it doesn't get much lower than this."
Anyone with information is asked to call the high harm team at Stechford on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Author: Mark Cardwell
@ South West News Service