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'I felt violated after being mugged in the middle of day'

Violated and in a state of shock -- that was the impact of a daylight phone mugging on Aileen Casey.

The 27-year-old disability worker is still struggling to come to terms with the mugging, which happened while she was sending a text on her €500 smartphone.

Commuter Aileen was close to Connolly Station waiting to catch a train last April when the thief struck.

She told the Herald that she knew something was wrong when she felt a stranger slide a hand around her body.

"It happened very suddenly. I was sending a text when from behind a hand reached down my torso and snatched the phone from my possession.

"For a second I was in shock but then it dawned on me what happened.

"I chased after him and yelled at passers-by to get him, but he was too fast.

"Before I got security involved he had already scampered down a back lane leaving me phoneless."

Cork native Aileen, who has been living in the capital for several years, said she felt violated to have suffered a mugging in the middle of the day.

"I was in a state of shock and violation."

To make matters worse, the phone thief is understood to be known by staff based at Connolly Station and frequents the area on a regular basis.

Gardai believe he was part of a gang who operated in the city targeting vulnerable members of the public.

Aileen felt disappointed when she was told by gardai that it was unlikely she would get her phone back.

"The gardai were helpful initially but told me not to hold out hope for my phone -- a rather pessimistic view in my estimation," she said.

Seven months on from the incident, Aileen said she is still feeling the effects and no longer feels fully safe in her adopted city. She admitted that she is now often both "aware and on edge" when she travels into Dublin city centre.

"Even now when in Dublin I am a lot more aware and on edge of my safety and well being. The other day a thuggish youth crossed my path in an awkward manner.

"I believe it was an attempt to snatch my bag, but I had it well secured and he walked off cursing," she said.

"I am in no doubt it was an attempt to snatch it but nowadays you cannot switch off in the city centre or you will be violated -- as the old saying goes, once bitten, twice shy," she added.

TERRY PRONE: PAGES 16-17


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