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Bus driver ‘still has nightmares’ after being threatened with replica AK-47

todayFebruary 18, 2022

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A former bus driver has opened up on how he still suffers nightmares a decade after a man pointed a replica AK-47 rifle at him and his passengers.

Mark Connelly was driving his regular trentbarton Indigo bus service from Nottingham to Derbyshire when the incident happened in Long Eaton on November 30, 2012.

While his vehicle was stopped it was approached by ex soldier Ian Kinney, then 38, who had pointed the rifle at motorists before turning it towards the bus.

Kinney, a veteran of Bosnia and Northern Ireland, left those on the bus ‘terrified for their lives’ and Mr Connelly, 49, quickly drove the vehicle away.

Mr Connelly, of Allestree in Derby, had worked for trentbarton for five years before the incident.

He said: “Before the incident I was naturally happy and loving life.

“A couple months later that happened and it changed my world completely.”

In his recollection of events, the driver remembers people screaming on the bus and calling their parents, thinking they were about to be killed.

He added: “It’s nine years later and I’ve only got the strength now.

“I’ve stopped physically shaking but I still get nightmares, I’ve got anger issues and I struggle to hold down a job.

“My face still flares up in dry red patches, literally all over my face which is to do with my anxiety.”

He added: “I was fearing for everyone’s lives, I could hear screaming.

“I stayed in my house for a year afterward, it was hard to function throughout the day.

“My biggest worry was that I didn’t think I could drive again.

“It ended my carer as a bus driver.”

Footage of the incident shows the bus driver trying to reverse in a bid to outrun Kinney as he pointed the gun at the vehicle’s windscreen.

Kinney, who served in the army for four years, was eventually halted when a police marksman hit him with a baton round.

He admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court. He was jailed for five years and given three months to run concurrently for criminal damage to a car.

After the ordeal, Mr. Connelly struggled to continue working as a bus driver, getting flashbacks about the day.

Now, he is in-between jobs and struggles to cope with confrontation as a result of the incident.

He said: “I went to work, came home and my life changed completely.

“I get flashbacks and see passengers appearing on the bus.

“I was in complete shock.”

Mr. Connelly feels he wasn’t offered enough support by his employer and said: “I wanted to get my voice out there to people.

“The company didn’t support me, they should have offered more support.

A trentbarton spokesperson said: “We have enormous sympathy for Mark for having gone through such a horrible experience caused by the criminal activity of the man who was arrested back in November 2012.

“We provided counselling for Mark, gave him significant periods of leave, offered him alternative non-driving roles and moved his driving duties to a new depot.

“We were still trying to help him in the summer of 2015 to move to a trentbarton job he would be happier in and we did not dismiss him. We continue to wish Mark well for the future and again thank him for protecting his customers on that day in 2012.”

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todayFebruary 18, 2022

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