Wednesday 21 March 2018

'Garotted' cyclist urges gardai to catch children who laid trap

DANGEROUS GAME: Monique Kelleher's badly bruised throat
DANGEROUS GAME: Monique Kelleher's badly bruised throat


THE young woman cyclist who was 'garotted' by a rope strung across a Dublin city street last week wants the culprits caught "because they need to realise they could have caused somebody to die".

Monique Kelleher was cycling along Mercer Street, close to busy Grafton Street, last Sunday night when she suddenly found herself lying on the street, disorientated and injured.

"I was going home to Ranelagh and I was cycling up Mercer Street – I don't usually go that way after dark," she said. "There was a group of kids on my right, four or five of them, and they were heckling.

"One of them started running after me, so I cycled faster. I had been on a course that day and I had my laptop with me.

"I heard one of them shouting, 'Stop her, stop her', and I didn't know whether they wanted to rob me or not. I felt I was getting away from them before I fell.

"'Get her to stop' was the last thing I heard, and the next thing I was on the ground. They scattered."

When she looked up and saw the clothes line rope strung across the road she realised what had happened.

Two cars passed before a driver and his girlfriend saw Monique was in distress and stopped. As they rang her boyfriend and the emergency services, she was still in shock and had not grasped what had happened.

Witnesses told gardai they had earlier seen children adjusting the height of the rope. Because it was slightly loose, it appears to have skipped over cars but caught Monique directly on the throat.

Although a fire engine was quickly on the scene, it was more than 20 minutes before gardai and an ambulance arrived.

At least one of the children she believes was involved in the incident cycled back and said to her: "Did you not hear them telling you to stop?"

She said she felt uneasy that they were "hanging around" while she waited, propped up against a railing, for the ambulance to arrive.

She was discharged from St James's Hospital at about 4am.

She said yesterday: "I feel relieved that I am okay, but I don't want this to happen to anybody else – that's why I hope the gardai find these kids.

"They have to realise that it is totally irresponsible and could have been so much worse."

Irish Independent

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