herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Two teenagers are quizzed over horror 'stalker' sex attacks

GARDAI investigating two stalker-style sex attacks that left Cork women terrified have released two men from custody.

The men - aged 19 and 18 years - were arrested yesterday by gardai investigating separate sex attacks in the city centre on December 3 last.

A file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.

The most disturbing attack involved a woman in her 30s being grabbed from behind and dragged on to church grounds where she was subjected to a serious sexual assault.

The men were arrested by Gardai in Kanturk and Mallow before 9am yesterday. They were released after extensive questioning at the Bridewell and Togher garda stations. Detectives believe the separate attacks - one in Dennehy's Cross and the other near the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) - bear similarities.

In both incidents, gardai believe that the women were targeted because they were alone -- and then stalked before being attacked.

Dragged

One woman - in her early 30s - was dragged onto the grounds of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Dennehy's Cross Church at 3am on Saturday December 3.

She was returning home after a Christmas evening out with friends in the city centre.

The woman was just passing the Wilton entrance to the church when she was grabbed from behind by two men, believed to have been masked.

One put his hand over her mouth while the other helped drag her into a darkened area of the church yard.

The sex attack lasted for just over five minutes before the two men fled on foot.

Detectives believe a second attack - near the MUH - had striking similarities to the Dennehy's Cross incident.

In that incident, a woman in her 20s was confronted by two men before being struck with a bottle. The men then fled.

Gardai suspect there was a sexual motivation in the attack though the woman was not sexually assaulted.

It is suspected that the victim had been stalked as she walked along the Mardyke area.

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