'Two men tried to abduct me as I was walking to work in Brown Thomas'
A young woman has spoken of her terror following an early morning abduction attempt, which took place while she walked to work through a city suburb.
Iwona Gontarczyk (30) was attacked on Ranelagh Road, in the upmarket south Dublin suburb of Ranelagh, at around 7am on Christmas Eve.
Ms Gontarczyk was making her way to Brown Thomas, on Grafton Street, to begin her shift, when a car with two men in it began coasting past her.
“They shouted at me ‘do you have any change?’ In that situation, you usually just freeze,” she told the Herald.
“I’m usually a very open person but they looked dangerous. One of them looked like he had been hit in the face a lot of times. The other one was younger. But he also looked dangerous,” she added.
She said they both looked like they may have been under the influence of drugs.
Ms Gontarczyk, whose story first appeared on Liveline on RTÉ Radio One, ignored the men but they continued to follow her, stopped the car and then got out and tried to grab her by the shoulder.
The area of the attack was not far from the junction with Mountpleasant Square.
She ran and although they followed her for a short time she managed to get away.
When she arrived into work, her team leader noticed that she was shaken.
“They were really kind. They saw I was shaking and I had been crying. They saw there was something wrong,” she said.
Her manager tried to call her boyfriend but he was asleep with his phone on silent, so he took her home in a taxi.
“I wanted to forget about the situation. I thought ‘I’m alive, everything is OK’,” she said.
However she has remained badly shaken by the experience.
“When I analyse the situation I think ‘what if?’ What would have happened if I didn’t run,” she said.
Ms Gontarczyk, who is originally from Warsaw, in Poland but has been living here since February, said the men did not appear to be trying to steal her bag and was worried that their intentions where more sinister.
The experience has changed her outlook on life.
“I don’t like walking in the dark. I don’t feel safe,” she said. “Never have I been in a situation like this. My life changed from this day. I’m a different person, I’m not open any more.”
Her boyfriend Kevin Whitty, who lives with Ms Gontarczyk, said they have now agreed if she finishes work late he will give her a lift home.
Mr Whitty said he was very familiar with the Ranelagh neighbourhood, having lived there for the last three years.
He said he had not heard of any other attacks or abduction attempts on the night but he had noticed suspicious people.
Mr Whitty said they did not report the incident to gardai at first because Ms Gontarczyk did not get a good look at her attackers but they now intend to make an official report to ensure gardai and local people are aware of what happened.