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Abduction and posting yourself

Police are investigating a possible link between the abduction of a woman in County Down and a stolen car crash on the M1.

A 35-year-old woman was assaulted by a man who forced her into a car in the Hilltown area on Friday morning.

The car was driven to Katesbridge where she managed to escape and raise the alarm. The driver ran off.

A 4X4 was later stolen in Banbridge. It crashed into several vehicles on the M1. A man has been arrested.

The collision happened during rush hour, just before about 08:00 GMT, on an motorway onslip near Sprucefield.

The 29-year-old man is being questioned on suspicion of burglary, dangerous driving and failing to remain at the scene of a road traffic collision.

The incident caused long tailbacks on the motorway.

It is understood that police had been monitoring the crashed car's movements.

The green Mercedes 4X4 was stolen at about 07:40 GMT from a family home in Banbridge, a short time after the abducted woman raised the alarm at a farm in Katesbridge.

The woman sustained injuries to her face and head and was treated in hospital.

In the mid-1960s, Australian athlete Reg Spiers found himself stranded in London with no money to buy a plane ticket home. Desperate to get back to Australia in time for his daughter's birthday, he decided to post himself in a wooden crate.

"I just got in the thing and went. What was there to be frightened of? I'm not frightened of the dark so I just sat there.

"It's like when I travel now if I go overseas. There's the seat. Sit in it, and go."

Reg Spiers makes it sound very straightforward more than half a century later, but it caused a media storm in Australia at the time.

He explains his attitude like this: "I've come up with this mad scheme to get back to Australia in a box. Who can say it won't work? Let's give it a shot."

Spiers had come to the UK to try to recover from an injury that had interrupted his athletics career. A promising javelin thrower, he had been on course to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.

But when it became clear he would not make the games, Spiers set his mind to raising enough money to fly back to Australia, and took an airport job to earn some cash.

But his plans changed when his wallet, containing all his savings, was stolen. With a wife and daughter back home, Spiers wanted to get back to Adelaide, but "there was one catch," he explains. "I didn't have any money."

And with his daughter's birthday looming, he was in a hurry.

"I worked in the export cargo section, so I knew about cash-on-delivery with freight. I'd seen animals come through all the time and I thought, 'If they can do it I can do it.'"