Sunday 17 December 2017

Gardaí interview over 200 in hunt for Kym's attacker

Garda at a checkpoint near the entrance to Moyglare Abbey Estate in Maynooth where Kym Owens was assaulted. Photo: Damien Eagers
Garda at a checkpoint near the entrance to Moyglare Abbey Estate in Maynooth where Kym Owens was assaulted. Photo: Damien Eagers

Conor Feehan and Tom Brady

Gardaí investigating the brutal attack on student Kym Owens in Maynooth have interviewed more than 200 people in the case.

Ms Owens (18) remains seriously hurt in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown after suffering severe facial injuries in the assault in Co Kildare.

Student Kym Owens remains in hospital after the attack
Student Kym Owens remains in hospital after the attack

She was attacked at the entrance to the Moyglare Abbey Estate after travelling from her home town near Castleblayney in Co Monaghan on a private bus on Sunday, November 20.

Sources said that the response from the public has been strong, and that to date 200 people have been interviewed.

This number includes people from the local community in Maynooth interviewed in house-to-house enquiries, people who were on the same bus as Ms Owens, and people who contacted gardaí following public appeals for information.

"The search for information is not limited to the bus or the estate where Kym was attacked," a source said.

"It stretches from Monaghan all the way to Maynooth. It is a wide search over a wide area."

An extensive Garda trawl through the background of university student Ms Owens has failed to find a motive for the savage attack.

"Its very unusual in an investigation of this type not to have some idea of what happened at this stage," a senior garda said.

"We are keeping a completely open mind as to the circumstances surrounding this incident and have ruled out nothing out."

Garda officers said they had yet to find a clue that might indicate why she was singled out by her attacker as she walked to her student accommodation.

Ms Owens's family maintain a bedside presence as the Mynooth University student continues to be treated in Connolly Hospital.

Gardaí are hoping to interview Ms Owens at a later stage, but at the moment she is still under sedation.

She may also need surgery because of her injuries.

It had been hoped that CCTV cameras in the town would have picked up images of Ms Owens as she walked home, to see what route she took and if she was followed.

However, as the night was so dark and foggy no useful footage has yet been found. How Ms Owens's attacker escaped the scene has also eluded investigators.

Read more: Gardaí question drivers at scene of Kym Owens assault one week on

Read more: 'Kym doing as well as she can' - Dad of student speaks one week on from brutal attack

Ms Owens screamed as she was set upon, which alerted locals nearby who came to her aid immediately and contacted emergency services.

Yet there are no reports of anyone leaving the scene.

Robbery has all but been ruled out as a potential motive for the attack, although gardaí are keeping a very open mind as to what may be behind the assault.

Ms Owens's bag, wallet, laptop and phone were still at the scene when she was found.

People who travelled on the bus with Ms Owens have also been interviewed.

Gardaí have not ruled out the possibility that someone was waiting for her and had prior knowledge of where she lived.

They are also open to the idea that the attack shortly before 8.30pm was random.

Local Myra Gavin said her daughters Laura and Steph were sitting at home that Sunday evening when they heard a scream across the road.

Running out to see what was happening, they saw Ms Owens lying on the pavement and knew something was wrong.

"The poor girl was only a slight little thing, they said, and her phone and everything was left with her. It is frightening to think of what she went through," Mrs Gavin said.

Witnesses have been asked to contact gardaí at Leixlip garda station on 01 6667800.

Irish Independent

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