Saturday 10 December 2016

Hunt for serial sex predator following four attacks in south Dublin

Jane O'Faherty and Louise Kelly

Published 12/02/2016 | 02:30

Gardai officers have told members of the public that they are putting
Gardai officers have told members of the public that they are putting "huge resources" into tracking down the culprit. Photo: Getty

GARDAI are on the hunt for a serial sex attacker after a spate of four assaults in South Dublin.

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At a public meeting in Shankill last night, officers told members of the public that they were putting “huge resources” into tracking down the culprit.

However, they urged people not to take the law into their own hands.

Since December 2, there have been four reported sex attacks – three in Shankill and another on Military Road, Killiney – and a further two suspicious approaches.

inquiry

Concerned residents in Shankill met in a car park last night to discuss the four reported assaults on women with gardai.

Read More: Protest at garda station after attack on teen

At least three women of varying ages have reported being assaulted near Shankill Dart Station.

Inspector James Murphy told those at the meeting that officers are following “over 70 lines of inquiry”.

The first incident, on December 2, took place close to Shankill Dart Station.

The second occurred on January 3, near the entrance of the Holly Park housing estate.

Two further assaults were reported on February 9 and 10, on Quinn’s Road and Military Road near Killiney.

Meanwhile, two suspicious approaches in the area were also reported on January 20 and February 7.

Inspector Murphy said Shankill Garda Station now has a full-time incident room to deal with the attacks, and that garda patrols have been put in place close to the Dart station.

He added they would not release a description of the perpetrator at this stage.

However, he also warned against vigilantism as locals expressed frustration over a perceived lack of garda presence.

“We understand your concerns but you have to leave this investigation to us,” he said.

“But, as always, we need your help and assistance with anything you think could help us.”

Meeting

The meeting came a day after around 100 people protested outside Shankill Garda Station about a perceived lack of  garda presence following the attacks.

It was hoped the event would take place in the Shanganagh Park House Community Centre.

Read More:  Gardai following 'over 70 lines of inquiry' after third sex attack reported near Dart station

However, organisers said the community centre management said they did not have room.

Sandra Perry, who lives close to the Dart station, said the fact the meeting could not be held in the community centre was “an absolute disgrace”.

Local man Beppie O’Halloran (18) was yesterday among the protesters and claimed he had witnessed a worrying attack on a young woman about two weeks ago.

“We [he and his friends] were running for the Dart and this man was standing beside this girl and he said something to her like ‘look at the kids running’ and then we saw him grab her and try to pull her into the woods,” he told the Herald.

“She got away and ran off.”

Irish Independent

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