Mum's relief as karate kid uses skills to escape abduction
A would-be kidnapper got more than he bargained for when he tried to abduct karate kid Kate Mulhern in broad daylight.
The brave teen was walking her new puppy near her home at Blackcastle Demense in Navan, Co Meath, when her assailant struck.
Unfortunately for him, Kate (17) is a karate brown belt.
Not only that, she represented Ireland twice last year and competed in the world championships in Tenerife in 2017.
Her worried mother, Hazel, is now urging parents to make sure their children can defend themselves after her daughter's terrifying experience on Tuesday afternoon.
"Kate, who had been walking the pup along the main Navan to Slane road, turned into the estate and noticed someone behind her," said Hazel.
"She knew something wasn't right, so she texted a friend to say she thought she was being followed.
"The man overtook her, then turned back and tried to grab her.
"The pup started growling and barking and whichever way the man tried to grab her, Kate saw an opening and thankfully remembered her kenpo training.
"She kicked him hard in the ribs and he fell back against a nearby parked car before getting in on the passengers."
The car, which was driven by another man, then drove off at speed.
Kate said both men looked to be in their 40s with the attacker wearing a black hat and a navy zip-up fleece.
The car was an old black saloon.
Hazel is now urging parents to look into getting self-defence lessons for their children.
"My daughter is OK, but very shook up. Please, please, parents, make sure your kids know how to defend themselves.
"It's so, so important, because that's what saved her.
"Kate has competed at world level, but it's a different story when you are placed in danger and panic sets in.
"Thankfully, she kept a cool head and all her training kicked into place."
Kate trains with Paul Brennan, an Irish Kenpo Karate Union chief instructor in Dublin.
Instructor Gerard Curran, of Johnstown Kenpo Karate Club, where Kate sometimes spars with younger children, also encouraged parents to get their children lessons in self-defence.
"It's terrible to think that a young woman should be put in danger like that.
"Thankfully Kate is highly skilled and used those moves, the moves we strive to teach kids how to defend themselves."
Hazel said she reported the attack to local gardai who are investigating.
Kate told The Late Lunch on LMFM yesterday that she was shaken by the incident.
"I saw an opening and I just body kicked him in the ribs and ran home," she said.
"It was literally scary what happened.
"Every time I see anyone now I just feel like telling them that you have to know how to defend yourself.
"If it had been someone who couldn't defend themselves, what would have happened then?"