A woman viciously beaten and subjected to a serious sexual assault as she walked home from bingo is feared to have been stalked by her young attacker.
The 61-year old woman was subjected to a brutal 20-minute sexual assault by a man in his 20s who ambushed her on a dark street in Charleville, Co Cork.
Gardai launched a manhunt yesterday to catch the attacker, as they described the assault suffered by the woman as "absolutely shocking" for both its violence and duration.
The woman was walking home at around 10.30pm on Sunday night after attending bingo in Charleville Community Centre when she was attacked from behind in the Turrets area of the north Co Cork town.
Her attacker struck her on the head -- possibly using a wooden club or heavy implement handle -- before dragging the stunned woman up the darkened driveway of a house.
Despite her pleas, the man subjected the woman to a serious sexual assault which detectives fear may have lasted for 20 minutes or more.
During the attack the woman was repeatedly beaten about the head and threatened with further violence if she tried to scream. The attacker then fled the area on foot.
The traumatised woman was eventually able to stagger out on to the roadway and flag down a passing motorist.
The man brought the distraught woman -- who was bleeding profusely from a head wound -- to Charleville garda station shortly before 11.30pm.
Detectives immediately raced to the scene and began a search for the attacker. The area was sealed off and a full forensic examination was carried out by garda technical experts.
The shocked woman was taken to a Cork hospital to have a serious head injury treated.
While her injuries are not said to be life-threatening, the woman was left deeply traumatised by her ordeal.
Such was the violence of the beating she received that, at one point, she became semi-conscious.
Gardai have obtained a brief outline of the attack but will not be able to conduct a detailed interview with the woman until she recovers.
One garda source told the Irish Independent that a shocking level of violence was used against her.
"This is one of the worst attacks of this kind that we have ever had to deal with," he said.
Charleville gardai appealed for public assistance in tracking down the attacker and urged anyone who spotted suspicious activity in the area on Sunday evening to contact them.
The attacker is described as being in his 20s, of medium build, standing between 5ft 6in and 5ft 8in tall, and wearing dark jeans and a grey coloured hoodie-type top at the time.
The man spoke with an Irish accent and was clean shaven.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Charleville gardai at (063) 81222.