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Saturday 16 December 2017

Man due in court today over alleged sex assault on two young girls

A CROWD of protesters remained outside Athlone Garda station late last night as it emerged a man is to face court this morning in connection with the alleged sexual assault of two young girls.

Two men were released without charge yesterday and one man remains in Garda custody. He will appear before a sitting of the district court this morning at a venue to be decided.

Up to 300 people gathered outside the garda station where he has been held. By late last night, there were still up to 100 people maintaining their peaceful protest.

Earlier, a publican who chased down a suspect said he still hears the screams of two young girls who were allegedly raped.

The 49-year-old, who asked not to be named, said he joined the search for the girls when they went missing from the children's party, and held a suspect down until gardai arrived.

"What had me was the screams," he said. "I can hear them ever since in my head. They were bad."

The man said people were searching for the girls for up to 45 minutes before they appeared from the rear of the apartment in the Athlone housing estate.

Around the same time he spotted a man who did not live in the estate walking out of an apartment alone carrying a bottle of vodka and bag of alcohol.

He was one of three men arrested after the girls were found. He is expected to appear in court this morning charged in connection with the incident.

"People were roaring and shouting that he had the girls in the apartment," the local father of two said.

He had been in a car traversing streets in the estate trying to track the two missing young girls.

"He was almost on the main road when I drove up and stopped him," he said.

"He tried to hit me with the bottle of vodka. Myself and another friend held him down on the ground and we called the gardai.

"I asked him what he did with the kids. He said to me 'I didn't do anything to them'."

The man said that the man he apprehended denied harming the girls.

It is understood two men were found in the house where the alleged attacks took place but were sleeping after drinking.

Locals in the estate said they were unsure exactly what had happened until one of the girl's fathers took a phone call from his wife at the scene where a suspect had been stopped.

"The dad had to be held back," the publican said.

"The father of the child was losing the plot shouting 'what did you do to my baby'.

"I do not want to be a hero," he added.

"I didn't do anything that no one else would have done."

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