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Gardaí slam 'mob mentality' as 'vigilante' crowd turn out to seek serial sex offender

Incorrect information about the convicted sex attacker's whereabouts was posted on Facebook


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A 'vigilante' crowd of well over 100 people gathered at a west Dublin housing estate after they received information that a recently-released serial sex attacker was staying at an apartment there.

Up to 10 gardai from Ronanstown Garda Station responded when the large crowd of angry local residents gathered at Weaver Court in Neilstown.

The incident is understood to have started at about 9.10pm on Thursday and continued for around two hours before the crowd dispersed.

It is thought people in the crowd believed that sex offender David Radford (20), of Butterfield Avenue, Rathfarnham, was in the property.

Radford was released from the Midlands Prison in Co Laois less than a fortnight ago.

Gardai reassured the angry crowd that Radford was not in the property after that information was incorrectly posted on Facebook.

However, this did not initially stop the crowd from leaving the area, as a garda told them he considered that a "mob had taken over the car park" where they had gathered.

The large group responded by chanting: "What do we want? The rapist out. When do we want it? Now." However, Radford has never been convicted of rape.

Shortly after this, the crowd left the area. No arrests were made as gardai said no criminal offences were committed.

"This mob mentality does no one any favours. Garda resources could have been better deployed in that area on Thursday night," a senior source said.

The exact whereabouts of David Radford were unknown last night but it is understood he had been staying in Tallaght for a number of nights after his release from jail.

In November 2015, Dublin Circuit Court heard that Radford tried to drag a 15-year-old girl into a cul-de-sac after telling her he wanted her and her body.

He was given a two-and-a half-year jail sentence after the court heard that gardai nominated him as a suspect having viewed CCTV footage from the area. He could be seen following the girl from her Luas stop before he approached her asking directions to a main road.

Radford denied the allegation in interviews with gardai but was re-arrested in January 2015, two months after the attack, when his DNA was found in a semen stain on the girl's bottoms.

The teenager was able to give gardai a good description of her attacker and said she could feel his penis against her backside as he was pushing her along.

She said she didn't want to sleep because she could only see Radford's face

His 15 previous convictions include three for sexually assaulting women in similar random attacks, dating back to 2010, when he was aged 14.