Monday 15 October 2018

Gardai investigating if woman 'orchestrated' acid revenge attack

A walkway between Merrion Woods and Seamount apartments in Stillorgan where a woman was attacked with acid.
A walkway between Merrion Woods and Seamount apartments in Stillorgan where a woman was attacked with acid.

Ken Foy and Ian Begley

A 32-year-old woman suffered horrific injuries after acid was poured over her face in a late-night attack in south Dublin.

Gardaí believe the woman may have been targeted because of her possible involvement in a "tangled" relationship that went horribly wrong.

A separate woman is being treated as a potential suspect in the case and may have "orchestrated" the revenge attack, according to gardaí.

The victim, who is a Chinese national, was confronted by a hooded man in Stillorgan as she made her way home from her job in a local pub.

Gardaí have already identified a suspect and are following a definite line of inquiry.

The woman was pinned to the ground by her attacker on a pathway between Merrion Woods and Seamount Apartments, close to the Radisson Blu Hotel in the south Dublin suburb.

English model Katie Piper was attacked with acid in London in 2008. Photo: C4/PA Wire
English model Katie Piper was attacked with acid in London in 2008. Photo: C4/PA Wire

Gardaí have established that a chemical substance was used in the attack, which occurred at around 10pm on Friday.

"This unfortunate woman is still undergoing extensive treatment to severe injuries to her eyes and left hand," a senior source said last night.

"She has suffered life-changing injuries. Her injuries are absolutely horrific."

As part of the investigation, gardaí raided a couple's south Dublin home and seized electronic equipment, including mobile phones and a laptop, which were being forensically examined last night.

English model Katie Piper was attacked with acid in London in 2008. Photo: C4/PA Wire
English model Katie Piper was attacked with acid in London in 2008. Photo: C4/PA Wire

A man was spoken to at the scene and it is understood he denied any involvement in the attack.

No arrests have yet been made in the case.

Last night, senior sources had not ruled out third-party involvement and gardaí are investigating whether the attacker had been hired.

"Everything is being looked at, including whether the attacker was paid to do this," an officer said.

Gardaí are expected to carry out further searches in the coming days in a bid to crack this case, which is the first of its kind in Ireland.

However, sources said gardaí were confident that the incident was not random and was linked to a possible "tangled relationship".

The attacker is believed to have stalked his victim before he approached her, pinned her down and poured the acid on her face.

Gardaí appealed for witnesses who saw anything suspicious in and around Rosemount Terrace, Fosterbrook, Merrion Woods and Seamount Apartments between 9.30pm and 10.30pm on Friday.

They are particularly anxious to hear from taxi drivers and delivery drivers who may have dash camera footage.

The victim was taken to St Vincent's University Hospital, where she remained last night.

She has also been seen by specialists at the Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin. While her injuries are described as "horrific", they are not life threatening.

The Chinese woman, who has lived in Dublin for a number of years, has been able to help gardaí with their inquiries.

Locals in the area expressed their horror last night at the brutal attack.

Booterstown resident Clara Rose Thornton told the Irish Independent: "It's such a shocking and upsetting thing to have happened. I'm very surprised a woman was attacked around here. I never feel unsafe walking here at night, but this incident is very worrying.

"The fact that this happened to a woman on her way back from work opens up a very dark slate of possibilities."

Irish Independent

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