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Sunday 4 December 2016

Halloween event bosses 'sorry' after 'lost' clowns leave students terrified

Newpark Comprehensive School, where the incident took place
Newpark Comprehensive School, where the incident took place
One of the clown characters from the Nightmare Realm

The production company behind a group of clowns who terrified teens at their school during a promotional stunt have apologised and explained that their clowns got lost.

Gardai were contacted by Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock after three actors in 'creepy clown' costumes entered its grounds without permission and frightened second year students leaving a PE class, as well as teachers at the school.

The Nightmare Realm, which is being held in the city, said its promotional staff accidentally entered the Dublin school's campus after mistakenly believing it was a public space.

The Herald understands the clowns are originally from Cork and did not know their way around Blackrock.

The three actors, reportedly holding fake weapons - one of which was believed to be a chainsaw - caused havoc when they entered the school last Thursday around noon.

One mother told the Herald that her daughter was "deeply shocked" by the incident.

"The had creepy laughter. My daughter told me that at least one teacher was panicking," she said.

"One of the sixth-year students was screaming, telling everyone to stay indoors."

School management have since met with gardai in relation to the incident, and have been in contact with the organisers of the Nightmare Realm.

A letter to parents from Newpark Comprehensive School said one of the clowns had something that looked "identical" to a chainsaw.

But gardai say the incident is a civil matter and they will not be investigating.

distress

The Nightmare Realm has been held in Cork city since 2009, and this is its first year in the capital.

Karl O'Connor, creator of The Nightmare Realm, said he wished to "extend our sincere apologies to the students, their parents, and the staff of Newpark Comprehensive School...for any distress caused".

He added that the actors were "out and about in Blackrock that day, dressed in full costume" as part of the promotional activity for the ongoing "scare-house" event.

"Unfortunately, they wandered into the grounds of Newpark Comprehensive - this was not authorised by The Nightmare Realm," he continued.

Mr O'Connor also said the promotional staff left the premises when requested to do so by school authorities.

The attraction's event manager also spoke to school representatives shortly afterwards and apologised, he added.

Mr O'Connor stressed his company and staff are "in no way linked" to the 'creepy clown' craze sweeping across the UK and US as Halloween approaches.

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