Gardai hunt gangs for two brutal assaults on young girls just minutes apart
Gardai are hunting for two gangs behind separate brutal sex assaults on young girls in Tallaght.
The two incidents happened within an hour of each other in the Springfield area of Tallaght on Monday.
The Herald earlier this week reported that a 14-year-old girl, who has learning difficulties, was subjected to a savage rape by a gang of young men between 4pm to 5pm.
It has now emerged that two sisters, who are aged in their late teens, were also sexually assaulted in the same locality of Springfield around an hour after the first attack.
Last night, sources said that gardai were confident that the two incidents were carried out by different groups of perpetrators.
The rape of the 14-year-old schoolgirl happened shortly after 4pm on Monday in a green space close to the Ashgrove apartments, opposite St Mark's GAA Club, on the Cookstown Road.
The traumatised victim has given a detailed statement to a specialist child interviewer, and officers are following a definite line of inquiry in the case.
It is understood that CCTV has played a major part in the investigation, but no arrests have been made.
Before making her statement, the girl was taken to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Rotunda Hospital following the horrifying ordeal, where she was treated for her injuries.
"Officers will work tirelessly to track down the perpetrator of this particularly heinous crime.
"It was an extremely serious sexual assault on a vulnerable victim, and investigators are following a definitive line of inquiry," a source said.
Shockingly, gardai in Tallaght became aware of a second sexual assault later on Monday when it was reported to them that two sisters were attacked by a group of men as they walked through Maplewood, which is also in Springfield, at 5.30pm.
The mother of these two young girls told a local newspaper that her daughters were walking back from the shops on Maplewood Drive when they were attacked by six young males.
"They tried to hold my daughters' hands down by their sides and were groping them and putting their hands down their tops," the woman told the Tallaght Echo.
"They also exposed themselves to my daughters.
"My daughters put up a struggle and managed to get away; one of them broke the heel of her boot in the process.
"They both feel that if they were younger or had not been strong enough to get away that this attack could have gone a lot further."
"My daughters have been left terribly shook up and in shock, but thank God they were able to fight this group off," she added.
As part of their investigations into both crimes, gardai sealed off the scenes in the Springfield area on Monday night and carried out forensic and technical examinations on Tuesday.
Tallaght gardai are investigating both incidents and are appealing for information from the public.
Local Fianna Fail councillor Charlie O'Connor, who is a former resident of the Ashgrove Estate, described how locals were "absolutely appalled" by the incident and appealed for anyone with information to contact gardai.
"It is an extremely shocking thing to happen. I'd like to extend my sympathies to the victim and her family during this traumatic time," he said.
According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, there was a rise in the number of assaults and sex attacks in the past year.
Rape offences increased by 12.5pc, while sexual assault (not aggravated) offences increased by 15.7pc.
Meanwhile, a total of 2,010 sexual offences were recorded in the State in 2013, representing a drop of 5pc on the 2,116 recorded the previous year.
The number of such offences recorded in 2013 was, however, over 36pc higher than the recorded number of offences in 2009.
Outgoing CEO of the Rape Crisis Centre Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop has said that the demand on rape crisis centres and sexual assault treatment units had "grown substantially" in recent years.
"We have seen a 36pc increase in Dublin alone at one sexual assault treatment unit," she said. "There are five others in the country."