Gardai examine bus CCTV in hunt for student Kym's brutal attacker
'Women in Maynooth are scared for their safety' - fellow student says
Published 23/11/2016 | 09:40
Gardai are examining CCTV footage from the private bus which brought assault victim Kym Owens from Castleblayney to Maynooth in a bid to identify her assailant.
Garda Superintendent Gerry Wall said it was “very, very possible” her attacker travelled on the bus and followed Kym (18) to the Moyglare Abbey housing estate in the town where she was brutally attacked.
It was one of many possibilities being considered by the investigation team, he said.
The young woman from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan is in a “serious” but stable condition in the intensive care unit of Connolly Hospital in Dublin.
Her injuries include broken eye sockets, a broken jaw and broken nose, and she lost several teeth.
A spokeswoman for the A2B coach company said around 40 people travel from Monaghan to Maynooth on Sunday nights.
Towns along the route include Monaghan, Castleblayney, Carrickmacross, Ardee, Collon, and Slane, with arrival in Maynooth around 8pm.
Officers also made a renewed public appeal for information yesterday.
- Read more: Extra gardaí drafted as attacker who brutally beat student at large
- Read more: Female students stick together after attack
They also issued a photograph of Kym and an incident room at Leixlip Garda Station can be contacted at 016667800.
Gda Supt Wall, speaking at the scene of the attack, said: “Someone may have seen a person on that night with marks on their clothing or body.
“That person may have been in an agitated state.”
“We appeal to the public – their information is vital, however trivial it seems, as it could be the vital link,” he said.
Gardai want to hear from any person who travelled on the bus and any person in the vicinity of the housing estate between 7pm and 9pm on Sunday.
Gardai addressed more than 80 students at a meeting at the college yesterday. They appealed for information and gave advice about personal safety.
“Kym is five-feet-three-inches tall with long brown hair,” he said. “She was wearing a dark green coat with a hood. She also wore a red hoodie and black jeans.”
She wore white runners and carried a distinctive green bag with a yellow handle with the word Castleblayney on the side.
Gda Supt Wall confirmed that more gardai have been deployed in the Kildare town while a major investigation seeks to find the unknown assailant.
Kym has been “receiving magnificent care” in hospital since the attack, he added.
Describing the scene of the attack, he said: “It was a well-lit road but there were very foggy conditions which reduced the visibility.”
The crime was “quite violent in its nature,” he added.
There are 11,000 students living in the small town and such an attack is a “rare event” in the area, he said.
Gda Supt Wall said gardai had given safety advice to first year students at the beginning of the academic year.
“Young women should not walk alone at night and always tell friends or family where they are going and what time they were expected to arrive,” he said.
- Read more: Attacker may have followed Maynooth student from bus - gardaí confirm
- Read more: Neighbours responded to screams of student (18) who was left with horrific face injuries in violent beating
Students who attended the garda meeting yesterday said gardai gave a great deal of advice concerning safety and the importance of not walking alone at night.
Student Rachel Smyth (19) from Monaghan said: “I usually take the same bus as Kym from Monaghan on Sunday nights but not last Sunday. I know her to see.
“Women in Maynooth are scared for their safety.”
She said a number of her friends who used the bus on Sunday have already spoken with gardai.
Ms Smyth said: “I share a house in Maynooth and women are certainly worried”.
“There are not a lot of gardai in Maynooth at night but there should now be more gardai,” she added.
A spokeswoman for Maynooth University said the college community “is very disturbed to hear of the serious incident involving one of our students, which happened off campus.
“Our immediate thoughts are with the student and her family and we are making every support available.
“The safety and well-being of all our students is of the utmost importance to us.
“The university will be working closely with gardai and offering advice and support services to all students concerned about this incident.”