Friday 23 February 2018

'I could see him holding onto her and he would not let go' - Man tried to abduct girl (5) as she played in garden

Anne Roche pictured with her grandchild, Hollie.
Anne Roche pictured with her grandchild, Hollie.

Sarah Gahan

A five-year-old child was nearly snatched from her garden by a man who was only foiled when the child's grandmother ran outside.

Ann Roche became concerned about her granddaughter Hollie (5) and confronted the man who was holding the distressed child by her hand.

Gorey gardaí are now investigating the incident and seeking to speak with the man involved, who fled the scene.

The incident occurred at the Roche family home outside Camolin on March 22.

Ms Roche said: "My granddaughter was saying: 'He was going to take me away, he was going to take me'."

The child was playing in St Moling's Terrace at 5.20pm that day. Ms Roche heard her granddaughter crying and ran out to see what was the matter.

"I heard her crying and screaming and only thought maybe she had hurt herself. But when I got out I could see a man holding onto her and he would not let go."

He threw young Hollie to the ground and ran off on foot, jumping over a wall. "I grabbed her and ran inside and locked all the doors. We were so afraid and in shock, but our main concern was trying to calm Hollie down," said Ms Roche.

The man was described as being in his 40s with black hair, of overweight build and wearing a red jumper. He apparently came into the front yard to approach Hollie.

"We are very lucky nothing worse happened to her. The way the house is built we have the kitchen at the back and her mother was there washing dishes after dinner, so I was the only one to hear her. I am just glad she was screaming - we are just very thankful she is still here with us," Ms Roche said.

The incident was reported to gardaí.

"She (Hollie) was afraid to even talk to the guards; she just kept saying 'He was going to take me' to them," said Ms Roche.

After Hollie calmed down, she described what the man looked like to the gardaí. "It is a face that I will never forget. Every time I close my eyes I can see him holding onto my granddaughter," said Ms Roche.

Hollie has since been having recurring nightmares about what happened to her and is getting little sleep.

"The rest of the children on the street have not been out since this happened. All of our neighbours are being very cautious and have their front gates closed and doors locked," Ms Roche said.

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who may have seen the man involved or suspicious behaviour to contact them.

Irish Independent

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