A YOUNG woman was raped multiple times in a "taxi" that picked her up after attending her work Christmas party in the Dublin 4 area.
Gardaí yesterday launched an appeal for information.
It's understood a woman in her early 20s, from Dublin, had attended a Christmas party in a Ballsbridge hotel on Saturday night.
After leaving, she got into a taxi, but began to feel unwell and got out of the vehicle, which drove off in the Shelbourne Road area of Dublin 4.
Senior sources said the woman believes she was picked up by another taxi in the locality. However, officers have still not established whether the vehicle she got in to was a taxi.
The woman said she was savagely sexually assaulted in this car over a sustained time. She was reportedly raped three times in the vehicle between 12.43am and 2.14am on Sunday.
"This was not a three-hour ordeal, but it was a savage and sustained ordeal that went on for well over an hour," a senior source said.
Detectives are trying to establish how the victim ended up in the Mountjoy Square area on the other side of the city some time after 2.14am.
Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have seen her at this location before 3.44am on Sunday to contact them.
The "highly respected" young woman made a complaint at Mountjoy garda station on Monday, but because of where the sexual assaults against her are alleged to have happened, the case is being investigated by officers from the Irishtown station. She was brought to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the Rotunda Hospital, where examinations confirmed she had been sexually assaulted.
Gardaí last night stressed there was "no need" for the public to panic in the context of women getting taxis during the Christmas party season.
However, officers also advised people to "take care of themselves" while socialising.
"The injured party describes the male suspect as being in his late 20s or early 30s, with a short beard, glasses, short dark hair and a short-sleeved shirt," a Garda spokesman said. "The injured party was wearing a long, black dress."
Separately, the woman at the centre of the alleged rape by a well known sports star is "too terrified" to make a formal statement in relation to the attack.
It is understood some of her friends who were present on the night have also declined to give statements to gardaí.
It was confirmed the rape and assault did not happen in a Dublin city-centre location but happened in a well-known south Dublin hotel. The case is now being investigated at Blackrock garda station.
Investigations have established the chief suspect had booked the penthouse suite last weekend. The sports star has still not been spoken to by gardaí and is unlikely to be unless the alleged victim makes a formal statement.