herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

'I knew if I fought back it would end badly', says top model Thalia Heffernan of city centre attack

Thalia Heffernan. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Thalia Heffernan. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Model Thalia Heffernan
Thalia Heffernan walking in the Brown Thomas fashion show
Thalia Heffernan and boyfriend Andrew McGuinness
Model Thalia Heffernan wearing a Tropical Underwire Swimsuit from Heatons
Model Thalia Heffernan

Irish model Thalia Heffernan has spoken of the violence she experienced when she was mugged.

The 20-year-old beauty, who is one of Ireland's best known faces in fashion, revealed yesterday she was viciously attacked while on her way to the Brown Thomas autumn/winter fashion show.

Thalia was en route to the city centre department store at 4:20am when a teenage girl asked her for a cigarette, which she ignored.

"She asked to give her my bag, which I didn’t do that’s when she began to hit me," she told the Brendan O'Connor Show on RTE Radio One.

"She hit me three times in the face with the palm of her hand."

There was a group of teenagers nearby, which she said she had initially walked past.

"When they notice she couldn't get the bag herself, a boy came behind me and grabbed it from my shoulder.

"When they did grab the bag off me, I did manage to rip a pocket off it, which I then gave to the gardas as a piece of fabric my bag was made of."

Thalia, who is represented by Morgan the Agency, is famously fit and said yesterday that "no matter how hard you train or how well your capable of fighting your corner, young kids in gangs like this can render you completely useless."

But she laughed today that she gave her teenage mugger "a bit of a run for her money".

Now, the catwalk queen who has travelled the world alone for her work, says she will take more caution when travelling alone

"I just wasn’t expecting it to happen to me - you never think it would happen to yourself en route to work," she added of the incident, which Gardai are investigating.

I’ve always been quite an independent person, I travel alone a lot, I’m on my own quite often – after that, I definitely am a bit shook.

"I’ll be a bit more cautious and careful."

The Ranelagh native said she wrote the original Facebook post detailing the robbery to urge others to be more cautious.

"I earned my belongings and my possessions and to have them taken in such an aggressive way…"

"I wasn’t trying to highlight what happened to me individually but on a larger scale to lots of people."

Thalia has hit headlines for her honest post on the social networking site, which read: "To the horrible girl who hit me in the face and robbed my bag this morning, to the guy who helped her, and to their theiving [sic] little friends for watching, my sincerest f**k you.

"What's worse is that there was nothing I could do to even attempt to defend myself, despite screaming and crying after them," she added. "I knew if I tried to fight back that it would end badly, and maybe even with me in hospital.

"Even now, a number of hours later, I'm still shaking writing this.. No matter how hard you train or how well your capable of fighting your corner, young kids in gangs like this can render you completely useless.

"They're ruthless and will do anything to get what they want. I don't understand how anyone could ever even consider doing that to another person. I hope I can help the gardai in identifying at least some of them, and eventually have them all pay for what they've done not only to me but countless others."

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