Thursday 22 August 2019

Gardaí identify teen suspects in holiday town sex attack claim

Under investigation: The scene of the alleged sex attacks at Courtown Harbour, Co Wexford is watched over by gardaí
Under investigation: The scene of the alleged sex attacks at Courtown Harbour, Co Wexford is watched over by gardaí

Ken Foy

Gardaí have established the names of some of the teenage boys they want to interview over the alleged rape of a girl and the sexual assault of two others in a seaside town.

A manhunt was continuing last night for up to five boys who are suspected of being involved in the alleged sex attacks in Courtown Harbour, Co Wexford.

There had been no arrests made by last night, however gardaí have visited locations in Kilkenny and Waterford cities as part of their probe.

It is alleged one of the girls was viciously raped while two others were the victims of a sexual assault shortly after midnight on Sunday.

In relation to the rape allegation, it is claimed that the girl was "held down" by a male teenager while his friend raped her.

Senior sources said last night that gardaí were also investigating whether more than one suspect was responsible for the sexual assaults on the other two young girls.

Gardaí believe around 15 people were present when the alleged shocking attack happened at a location close to a beach in Courtown.

Investigators have established the names of some of the teenage boys they want to interview about the incident.

However there are fears that the individuals involved are being shielded by more senior adults or that they may in fact have already left the jurisdiction.

Sources revealed last night that both the alleged victims and the alleged attackers were in the seaside village on holidays.

The three girls are understood to originally be from Dublin while the five teenage boys are normally based in the Kilkenny area.

A source told the Irish Independent: "Alcohol is suspected of being a big factor - there are reports this alcohol may have even been stolen from a local establishment before it was consumed by two groups on the beach.

"Whether this is the case or not is irrelevant to what is alleged to have happened later and gardaí are looking for five juvenile male suspects whose normal base is in the Kilkenny area but locations in Waterford have also been visited," the source added.

Gardaí yesterday renewed their appeal for information in relation to the shocking case.

"Gardaí are continuing to appeal for information in relation to the investigation into an incident of a serious assault that occurred on Sunday at approximately 12.15am in the Burrow area of Courtown Harbour, Gorey, Co Wexford," a spokesman said.

"The three injured parties involved in this incident are currently in the process of being interviewed by a team of specially trained interviewers.

"An incident room has been established at Gorey Garda station. Gardaí would like to thank all witnesses that have already come forward to provide witness statements.

"Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information and who has not yet come forward to please contact Gorey garda station on 053 943 0690 or the Garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.

"Due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, and the ages of those involved, no further information is available at this time."

The three girls have been treated in hospital in a sexual assault unit.

A senior source said the girls' claims are being treated as "credible" and a number of specialist Garda units are involved in what is described as a "highly sensitive" and detailed investigation.

Gardaí have already spoken to some witnesses as part of the probe which may be "a lengthy investigation", according to one senior source.

"These are very complex investigations made even more complicated by the fact that alcohol was involved combined with the ages of those involved," they added.

Irish Independent

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