herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Gardai probe 'acid attack' on woman stabbed and beaten

A garda outside the flat where Simone Lee was brutally attacked
A garda outside the flat where Simone Lee was brutally attacked

Gardai believe acid may have been poured over a Limerick woman who was burned, stabbed and beaten in a savage attack in her own home.

The 37-year-old was naked from the waist up when she was discovered on the floor of her flat by gardai early yesterday morning.

She was semi-conscious and "massively hyperthermic".

Simone Lee, of Hassetts Villas, Thomondgate, had burn marks on her face, neck and torso.

It is understood that Ms Lee had also been stabbed in the back and a had severe cut to the forehead.

Simone Lee
Simone Lee

Blood

Gardai were alerted to the attack at 12.40am when a passer-by saw shattered glass on the ground outside Ms Lee's flat.

"We don't know whether the burn marks were caused by acid or boiling water," said a source. "But it looked like she was there for some time.

"I've seen some bad injuries but these were some of the worst. There was a lot of blood."

Detectives were liaising with doctors treating Ms Lee at University Hospital Limerick to determine the cause of her burn injuries.

Gardai were unable to speak to Ms Lee last night because she was sedated but it is believed her statements will drive the direction of the investigation.

A man, aged 28, was arrested on suspicion of attacking Ms Lee, who is single.

He was being detained for questioning at Henry Street Garda Station under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

Ms Lee's condition was described last night as "critical but stable".

She was treated at the scene of the attack by paramedics before being taken to University Hospital Limerick where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

The garda source said the arrested man was known to Ms Lee but was not residing in the flat with her. A neighbour described Ms Lee as "a nice girl".

Local Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan said he had previously attempted to help Ms Lee secure accommodation.

"I had tried to get her a house. She seemed like a nice girl. Her mother passed away a few years ago. It's shocking," he said.

Ms Lee's townhouse flat and neighbouring properties will remain sealed off until the arrival today of forensic officers from Dublin.

Two access roads leading to the apartment block will also be sealed off. It is understood that investigators will be focusing on determining what liquid caused the victim's extensive burns.

Smashed

Shards of glass were visible on the street outside the flat and an upstairs window was smashed.

It is believed an ironing board was thrown through a window at the flat.

Gardai are investigating whether there were other people in the house at the time of the assault, and are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact them.

They should do so by calling Mayorstone Garda Station on 061456980 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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