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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Teen sex attack suspects provide DNA samples as garda probe continues

Gardai at the scene of the alleged sex attack incident in Courtown
Gardai at the scene of the alleged sex attack incident in Courtown

Gardai have DNA samples, as well as other evidence, from up to five teenagers suspected of being involved in a savage sex attack on three young girls in Courtown Harbour.

A massive investigation is ongoing into the incident, which happened shortly after midnight on Sunday, July 28, near a beach.

Officers have raided halting sites in Kilkenny and Waterford as part of the probe, but there have been no arrests so far.

"This investigation is being treated very sensitively, but these things take a lot of time," a source told the Herald.

Abroad

"There had been reports that the suspects in the case had fled abroad but that is not the case now.

"They are in the jurisdiction and there has been a level of co-operation from them," the source added.

It is understood that it may be a number of weeks before gardai could be in a position to make arrests in the case, which is being investigated by officers at Gorey Garda Station.

The Herald has learned that officers in the south-east have been "keeping a close eye" on the suspects in recent weeks.

It is understood there have been a number of separate operations against some of their associates who are allegedly involved in crime in their locality.

"These have concerned thefts, robberies and other offences that are not linked to what happened in Courtown but certainly have put pressure on associates of the suspects," a source said.

It is alleged that one of the girls was viciously raped while two others were the victims of a sexual assault.

All were juvenile female teenagers who have been left traumatised by the incident, according to sources.

In relation to the rape allegation, it is claimed that the female juvenile victim had been "held down" by a male teenager while his pal raped her.

Specialist officers have also been investigating whether more than one suspect was responsible for sexual assaults on the other two juvenile girls who alleged they were sexually assaulted.

Gardai believe that well over a dozen people were present when the alleged shocking attack happened at a location close to a beach.

It previously emerged that both the alleged victims and the alleged attackers were in the seaside village on holidays.

The girls are understood to be originally from Dublin.

The girls made official statements to specialist officers and have also been treated in hospital at a sexual assault unit.

A senior source said that the teenage girls' claims are being treated as "credible" and CCTV has also been gathered as part of the probe.

Gardai have already spoken to many witnesses as part of the probe, which may be "a lengthy investigation", according to a senior source.

"There were around 15 people present when this happened and full accounts need to be taken from everyone who was there," the source said.

"These are very complex investigations, made even more complicated by the fact that alcohol was involved, combined with the ages of those present," the source added.

Last month, gardai made an appeal for a Good Samaritan who helped the victims after the incident to contact them.

Appeal

Officers have also thanked the public for their help with the investigation.

"Gardai investigating an incident of a serious assault that occurred on July 28, 2019, at approximately 12.15am in the Burrow area of Courtown Harbour, Gorey, Co Wexford, are looking to speak to a male who is understood to have come to the assistance of three females on the night of the incident," a garda spokesman said last month.

"An Garda Siochana would like to thank all the members of the public who have come forward to date."

The statement continued with "an appeal to anyone with information who has not yet come forward to contact Gorey Garda Station on 053 943 0690 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111."

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