A mother whose four-week-old daughter was kidnapped by carjackers has slammed the heartless thieves who ran her over as they drove off.
Clare O’Neill’s daughter Eliza was still strapped in the back of her Audi A3 when robbers struck yesterday, disappearing with the car and her baby.
The 39-year-old fought for her child, clinging to the door and being run over by her own car as she was dragged along the street screaming ‘my baby, my baby’.
After mother and baby were reunited in hospital, Ms O’Neill spoke of her relief that her daughter is okay, and determination to catch those responsible.
Claire O’Neill is pictured with her daughter Eliza after they were reunited in hospital following the theft of Ms O’Neill’s car while the baby was still strapped in her car seat in the back
Eliza’s father John O’Neill has been taking belongings to his wife and daughter in hospital
Ms O’Neill was outside her home (left) when the carjackers jumped in the car and drove off
Ms O’Neill said: ‘Eliza is thankfully safe and well, but the people responsible clearly knew she was in my car when it was taken, putting the life of our four-week-old at risk as a result of their personal greed.
‘I have now been discharged from hospital and have sustained facial injuries, which include bruising, a broken tooth and severe pain in my right arm.
‘This was caused by the wheel of my car running me over whilst I battled to stop my daughter being taken.
‘Due to the injury to my arm I am now unable to hold Eliza for the next four or so weeks.
‘I am appealing for people to come forward with any information about who is responsible or behind this. The life of my daughter was endangered by the reckless behaviour of those involved.’
Her husband, John, declined to comment on the robbery today as took bags to his wife and daughter in hospital.
Police released a picture of the pair in hospital together today, with Ms O’Neill seen smiling despite a nasty gash above her eye, broken tooth and a bloody mouth.
Friends and neighbours sent their best wishes online, with Rachel Bullock tweeting: ‘Get well soon Claire. Can’t begin to imagine what you went through x ‘
Another local added: ‘Good to see them back together. Hope the vile criminals get what’s coming to them.’
Ms O’ Neill (pictured with her baby shortly after she brought her home) was dragged along the street as she tried to stop thieves stealing her car with her newborn daughter inside
Ms O’Neill is now recovering in hospital after being reunited with her baby yesterday night
Neighbour Anjana Chavda, 66, a civil servant, witnessed the incident yesterday.
She said: ‘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.’
Ms Chavda’s husband, Kanu 68, added: ‘I came outside and saw a woman on the floor, her knees bleeding, and her head.. she was crying hysterically.
‘People gathered around her trying to comfort her. The police took a long time to arrive, approximately 15 minutes. Then the ambulance came to take her away ten minutes after that.
‘We’ve never had anything like this happen. Not even cars stolen. We have a good Neighbourhood Watch in this street already.’
The front door of Ms O’Neill’s home is pictured yesterday with ‘It’s a girl’ banners still stuck on
The baby was found outside a health centre not far from where the car was stolen
Another resident added: ‘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.’
West Midlands Police are appealing to anyone with information which might help them catch the car thieves to get in touch.
Detective Inspector Jim Munro, from force CID, said today: ‘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.’
The baby was later found abandoned at Small Heath Health Centre in Birmingham (pictured)
Ms O’Neill’s baby has now been reunited with her after she was found at Small Heath Health Centre in Birmingham (pictured)
Officers across the city were immediately mobilised to search for the baby and 45 minutes later an ambulance crew at Small Heath Health Centre found the youngster safe and well and still in her car seat.
Force Incident Manager Chief Inspector Tony Cole said: ‘Our primary concern was the safe return of this young child and dozens of officers, including specialist resources, were drafted into the search, which I am so pleased has resulted in her safe return.
‘We are still determined to trace the offenders who have put this mother through a 45 minute nightmare that she will never forget.
‘Please help us with any information you may have which will assist our search.’
It is believed the vehicle may have been travelling towards Solihull in the West Midlands when it was last seen.
Shocked bystanders are pictured in Marie Drive after the carjacking that saw Ms O Neill’s four-week-old baby kidnapped
A policeman is pictured in Marie Drive, Acocks Green speaking to residents after the carjacking unfolded at 4pm on Thursday
The baby girl was in the back seat of a grey Audi A3 S-line (model pictured) when it was taken
The carjackers are still at large and police are appealing to the public to help find them.
The horrifying incident came just three days after another Audi S3 was targeted in a violent carjacking six miles away in the Nechells area of the city.
A young mother was forced to flee with her two-year-old daughter after thieves staged an ‘accident’ and coerced her husband out of the vehicle in Jameson Road, Nechells.
Shocking CCTV footage captured the incident, which took place at around 1.30pm.
No arrests have yet been made in connection to either incident and police do not believe the robberies are linked.
Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101.
A similar violent carjacking incident was caught on CCTV six miles away in Jameson Road, Nechells