Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland have welcome the sentence passed down to Dermott McIlveen at Laganside Court on Thursday 31 March.

McIlveen, aged 40, was sentenced to 12 years – nine years to be served in custody and three on licence – after pleading guilty to six counts of assault and one of possessing an offensive weapon.

The sentencing follows from an investigation into a series of incidents in south Belfast on Monday 12th October 2020. The investigation resulted in McIlveen’s arrest, soon after, on Thursday 15th October.

Detective Inspector Tom Phillips said: “McIveen carried out a series of assaults, including stabbings, on six young women on the night of 12 October 2020.

“He carried out these shocking attacks, selecting victims at random, while travelling on a bicycle, throughout a number of locations from the city centre of Belfast heading to south Belfast. Four women sustained knife wounds, and two others were punched.

“While, thankfully, none of the victims sustained life-threatening injuries, they were understandably left traumatised.

“I’m keen to acknowledge the bravery of the victims who came forward to assist our investigation. I’m also grateful to a number of witnesses who were quick to get in touch. Such support has been invaluable.

“While these young women, and indeed those who witnessed the attacks, will never forget this terrifying ordeal, I hope that today’s sentencing offers a reassurance that we will work tirelessly to bring offenders before the courts, and to keep people safe.”