herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

'GPO girl' on mischief charge as Canadian police contact gardai after her sex claim

Samantha Azzopardi
Samantha Azzopardi

POLICE in Canada have charged 'GPO girl' with mischief after she appeared in a mid-western city claiming to have been sexually assaulted.

Australian woman Samantha Azzopardi (26) made headlines here after she was found, apparently wandering and bewildered, by gardai in O'Connell Street in October last year.

She was taken into protective custody and kept under armed guard in Temple Street Hospital after she convinced officers that she was a teenage sex trafficking victim from eastern Europe.

It later emerged that she had fraud convictions in her native Australia and her claims were untrue. She was deported from Ireland.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Azzopardi had emerged in the Canadian city of Calgary last month, making claims of sexual assault under the name Aurora Hepburn.

Authorities in Canada contacted gardai and it was confirmed that she was the same person deported from Ireland last year.

Yesterday, Canadian police said that Azzopardi had been charged with mischief after claiming she was an underage victim of sex trafficking and exploitation. Releasing photographs of Azzopardi, the Canadian authorities appealed for anyone with information on her movements to contact police.

A statement said that around 4pm on September 16, a woman walked into a health centre and made claims she was a 14-year-old who was the victim of an abduction and prolonged sexual assault.

The woman was immediately transported to a local hospital for treatment and CPS (Calgary Police Service) was called.

On October 2, Calgary police were notified of a similar case that was investigated in 2013 in Dublin.

"Following a lengthy investigation by the Irish gardai, the woman's claims were determined to be fake," the statement said.

hnews@herald.ie

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