Teenage girl 'punched over and over' by stranger on return from night out
A TEENAGE student believes she was seconds from death after being brutally attacked by a stranger on her way home from a night out.
Shanan Reid McDaid had been out with friends in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, on Saturday evening and was looking for a taxi.
She was approached from behind by a man who called her a “slut” and a “bitch” close to the town’s Market Square area.
When she turned around to confront him, she was punched in the face and fell on the ground. Her attacker then repeatedly punched her as he stood over her.
“He looked very normal and I just didn’t know why he would call me those names,” said Shanan, an 18-year-old arts student at Galway University.
“Not that it matters what I was wearing, but I had a long black coat on, so I don’t know why he called me those names.
“He just punched me in the face, then punched me over and over again. I just mumbled that I was sorry and pleaded with him to stop.
“If the attack had lasted any longer, I am convinced I would have died.”
Shanan, from Illistrin on the outskirts of Letterkenny, had been out with her boyfriend Glen and two other friends who were a short distance away but did not hear her ordeal which happened at around 3am.
The group had walked to the top of the Market Square, where local people go to hail a taxi.
“When I caught up with them they just couldn’t believe what had happened,” added Shanan. “They went looking for the guy but he was gone.”
Shanan spent the next four hours in Letterkenny University Hospital and was due to attend Sligo Hospital yesterday for more treatment, but that was cancelled due to Storm Ophelia.
She described her attacker as between 30 and 40 years old, clean shaven with a Donegal or Northern accent and with brown or dirty blonde hair.
She said he was wearing a navy blue or dark-coloured blazer over a light-coloured shirt and had dark denim jeans.
“You hear of these things happening but you never think it will happen to you,” said Shanan. “I don’t know why this man attacked me. I do know that from what I went through, he is capable of doing it again. I’m a pretty normal girl going to college and trying to get on with things and now this has completely knocked me.
“I would certainly say to girls out there not to be anywhere alone. My boyfriend was nearby and he still didn’t know what had happened to me. Be close to people at all times.”
She has reported the attack to Letterkenny gardai.
“This is happening all too often,” said Gerry McMonagle, the chairman of Donegal County Council. “This is not the first time we have heard of a young woman being attacked.
“This woman is certainly not to blame, but I would appeal to friends of people not to leave them alone at night but to ensure they get taxis or are walked home safely.
“I wish the young woman a speedy recovery, and I hope she is OK following her horrific ordeal.”
“We obviously have an issue with this sort of thing in Letterkenny, and it needs to be addressed.”