| 6.3°C Dublin

Our worries as mystery man seen photographing children at south city birthday party

Gardai are hunting a suspicious man spotted photographing young children at a south Dublin birthday party.

Father-of-three John Fitzpatrick said the man used a mobile telephone to photograph children as they played on a bouncy castle behind a family home in Dun Laoghaire.

The mystery man stood taking photographs of the children until he was confronted by local resident Mr Fitzpatrick.

He told the Herald how the man fled the scene after he was confronted and gardai called.

The incident occurred at Monkstown Grove in Dun Laoghaire last Saturday.

Mr Fitzpatrick said his children and neighbouring children were attending a birthday party at his house in Monks-town Grove on Saturday last.

The Kilmore residential complex of houses and apartments is protected by a locked gate with keycode access.

Around 12.30pm, the children were playing on the bouncy castle and his two-year-old daughter was sitting near the gate. A nine-year-old girl at the party drew the attention of the other children to a man who was standing at the gate and using a mobile phone to take photographs of the children.

The man also had his hand on the keycode pad. The girl warned the other children that a strange man was trying to take their pictures and she alerted Mr Fitzpatrick.

"I asked him what was he doing photographing children. He said he was interested in the bouncy castle. When I asked him why, he said, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry' and walked away," said Mr Fitzpatrick.

Mr Fitzpatrick said that residents believed the man matched the description of serial rapist Michael Murray, but gardai have ruled this out, the Herald understands.

Murray was released from prison last July after serving 13 years for raping four women and assaulting two other women. He also has a conviction for indecently exposing himself to a three-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. The man being sought is in his 20s, with brown hair and was wearing a Nike top.

A source said: "This man does not match Murray's description. We are seeking another unknown individual at this point."

Mr Fitzpatrick said the man had a tight haircut. He had a small scar on the right side of his face.

He was holding a black jacket, wore blue jeans, and had silver buckles on his shoes.