herald

Tuesday 21 February 2017

I heard screams of tourists attacked in vicious mugging

Stephanie O’Connor ran to help the three young women Picture: Arthur Carron
Stephanie O’Connor ran to help the three young women Picture: Arthur Carron

A young American tourist suffered serious facial injuries after she was attacked and robbed by two men in leafy south Dublin.

Gardai are investigating the robbery of the young woman on the Killiney Road at 5.30am yesterday.

The incident happened when two men approached three American tourists as they waited for a bus to take them to Dublin Airport.

The robbers managed to grab a handbag containing the women's passports and fled the area.

During the mugging, one of the victims, a 22-year-old woman, was pushed to the ground and suffered injuries to her face. She was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, for treatment. Officers from Dun Laoghaire Garda Station are investigating but no arrests have yet been made.

Local woman Stephanie O'Connor (26) said she woke up after hearing the tourists scream for help.

Screaming

"I woke up to a girl screaming 'help' outside my house. When I looked outside I saw a girl running and screaming outside," she said.

"I saw a car nearby and bags lying on the ground. My initial reaction was that the girl was being kidnapped so I ran after her to see if I could help."

Ms O'Connor said that when she went outside she saw three American women "in hysterics".

"They were walking to the Fitzpatrick Hotel to get the bus to the airport to catch a flight home but they were attacked by two men who stole their bags," she said.

"They noticed the men following them but it was only a 10-minute walk to the bus.

"One of the girls was physically assaulted and she had a bust lip, broken teeth and a bloody mouth. She was in shock and her friends were frantically trying to calm her down."

Ms O'Connor said the women were "devastated" as their passports, travel documents and money had all been stolen.

"They can't fly home now. They'll have to go to the American embassy to get new travel documents and one of the girls will need to go to hospital."

She said the women were so frightened they wouldn't come into her house to calm down.

"I tried to approach them and they were frantic. I ran home and called the guards but the girl who was attacked was terrified.

"It's insane that somebody would do that to a group of young tourists."

It is believed that the three women had been studying for a short time in Ireland. Ms O'Connor, who has lived in the area all her life, said that after the attack and the stabbing in Dalkey on Christmas Eve she was "terrified" to walk outside.

"I will definitely not walk home alone or even with a group of girls. It doesn't even feel safe for girls to be in a group any more," she said.

One of the robbers was of average height and build and wore a white jumper, according to gardai.

Appalling

Local Fianna Fail councillor Cormac Devlin described the incident as "appalling" and said more gardai were needed on the ground in the area.

"It's an appalling attack, particularly on a tourist visiting the country. To me, it highlights the need for increased garda numbers, locally and on the beat.

"My thoughts are with the three women and hopefully the perpetrators will be brought before the courts."

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