A man tried to force a woman in her late 60s into the boot of a car in an early-morning attack.
The suspect assaulted the woman and threw her into the boot of his car, but an even more serious crime was prevented after a passer-by approached the individual and the woman managed to free herself.
The incident happened near Blackhorse Avenue, in Ashtown in Dublin, at 7.30am yesterday as the victim was out walking.
Sources said that after forcing her into the silver family saloon car the suspect tried to slam the boot shut, but the woman's legs were hanging out and it failed to close. She suffered injuries to her legs.
A passer-by heard her screams and approached the suspect, who then fled the scene in his vehicle via Blackhorse Avenue, towards Dublin city centre.
Gardai believe the car may have turned left on to the Navan Road.
The suspect is believed to be a man in his 20s who was well built, and gardai believe the car was parked at the spot as the woman approached.
He is also described as wearing a white T-shirt and dark trousers.
Senior detectives have been appointed to the investigation and an incident room has been set up.
Gardai are concerned about the “completely random” nature of the attack.
CCTV is being examined in the area in the hunt for the man.
“This is an extremely serious incident where a suspect nearly succeeded in dragging the woman into his car,” a source said.
“Thanks to this lady’s quick actions and those of the passer-by a more serious offence was prevented but gardai are very anxious to track down this individual.“
As it was happening, the woman was assaulted and received minor injuries as a result.
Another source added: “Thankfully, she managed to get away and has a good idea what he was wearing.”
Locals in the area expressed their shock last night. “Most people who live here were either leaving for work or getting their kids ready for school,” said one man.
“I would find it hard to believe that there are no witnesses as the main road opposite was full of cars at the time.”
Gardai spent the day making door-to-door enquiries in an attempt to find any clue to help them in their investigation.
One local man said his girlfriend had been in the area minutes after the incident happened.
“When the gardai came to the house she was very shocked that she was in the locality close to the time when it happened,” he said.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t see anything but hopefully someone did.”
A garda spokesperson said:“Gardai wish to speak to any person who was in the vicinity of Blackhorse Avenue on January 6, 2020, between 6am and 8am, or anyone who may have information about this incident.
“Gardai are appealing to road users that were driving in the Blackhorse Avenue area, who may have camera footage.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Blanchardstown Garda Station on 01 6667000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.