Thursday 8 December 2016

'I still feel nervous' - Women fear sex fiend will strike again after series of assaults

One man is believed to be behind four different sexual attacks on young women

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 06/04/2016 | 12:06

Main picture: Shankill Dart station near where the assaults took place. Inset: Sisters, Shauna Daly, 22, right, and Sophie Daly, 21 with their children (Photo: Damien Eagers)
Main picture: Shankill Dart station near where the assaults took place. Inset: Sisters, Shauna Daly, 22, right, and Sophie Daly, 21 with their children (Photo: Damien Eagers)

Women fearful about a series of sexual assaults in a local area have welcomed council action to help deter further attacks.

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One man is believed to be behind four different sexual attacks on young women in the region of Shankill Dart station in south Dublin, which has caused widespread fear and sparked public meetings demanding action.

Several local women told the Herald yesterday that all females in the area remain wary of the attacker striking again.

More than a dozen new public lighting poles have been erected in recent days in green areas adjoining the station by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Nervous

New tarmac paths have been laid out across the green areas, and bushes and trees - where an attacker would be capable of hiding - have been cut back drastically.

Sisters, Shauna Daly, 22, right, with her son Teddy, and Sophie Daly, 21, with her daughter, Marley, walk in a green area beside Shanganagh Wood in Shankill, where an alleged sexual assault took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Sisters, Shauna Daly, 22, right, with her son Teddy, and Sophie Daly, 21, with her daughter, Marley, walk in a green area beside Shanganagh Wood in Shankill, where an alleged sexual assault took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

A 58-year-old mother-of-four told the Herald: "The first girl to be attacked was a friend of my daughter. She was 21 and a gutsy girl. She managed to get away from him and put up warnings on Facebook."

Local mother-of-one Shauna Daly (22) said she is happy about the changes, saying: "I still feel really nervous since hearing the reports of those attacks a few weeks ago.

One of the green areas near Shankill Dart station where the
attacks happened which has been cut back to be more open. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
One of the green areas near Shankill Dart station where the attacks happened which has been cut back to be more open. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

"But I'm glad that new lighting has been provided. I moved to Cherrywood a few months ago but I'm still nervous, as no one has been caught."

Her sister, mum-of-one Sophie Daly (21), agreed that the improvements were needed.

Sisters, Shauna Daly, 22, right, with her son Teddy, and Sophie Daly, 21, with her daughter, Marley, next to a green area beside Shanganagh Wood in Shankill, where an alleged sexual assault took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Sisters, Shauna Daly, 22, right, with her son Teddy, and Sophie Daly, 21, with her daughter, Marley, next to a green area beside Shanganagh Wood in Shankill, where an alleged sexual assault took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

"Like all local women, I'm very nervous too - but hopefully the new lights will help," she said.

The first incident on December 2 happened close to the Dart station. The second was on January 3, at the entrance to the nearby Holly Park estate.

Shankill Dart station, which is close to a green area where an alleged sexual assault took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Shankill Dart station, which is close to a green area where an alleged sexual assault took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Two further assaults were since reported in the region and are being investigated.

"There have been no arrests to date and the investigation is ongoing," said a garda spokesman.

A 49-year-old mother-of-three from the nearby Rathsallagh estate said that the area feels a bit safer now with the latest improvements.

Vigilant

"The new light poles have gone in, but they have not been completed - as the lights haven't been fully fitted yet," she said.

"But an awful lot of bushes have been taken away, which is reassuring. I had been very afraid from my daughter, who's 24, and she would not even go out alone during the day after the attacks.

"The worry levels have scaled back - but people are still staying vigilant."

Local councillors Carrie Smyth and Hugh Lewis said women should remain alert until the attacker is caught.

They said improvements were planned for a considerable time, but the attacks - and the public meetings in their aftermath - had sped up the works.

Herald

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