Clondalkin gang-rape suspect ‘flees to UK’
The man wanted in connection with the horrific rape of a woman in west Dublin has fled to the UK, gardai fear.
The individual, who is from the Clondalkin area, is the chief suspect in the violent gang attack that happened on July 28.
He is related to two men, aged in their teens and early 20s, who have already been arrested in relation to the incident. However the pair, who have a number of convictions and were out on bail at the time of the attack, were later released without charge.
Sources have said that gardai are searching for one man, but they fear he has fled the country since the shocking incident.
"It was initially thought that he was still in the country but in hiding, it's likely he has now fled to the UK.
"Local gardai have not been able to locate him despite having called to his home on previous occasions, but they are determined to catch and charge the perpetrators of this violent crime," a source said.
The Herald previously revealed how three suspects in the knife-point attack are all from the same family.
Fear and anxiety has spread through the west Dublin community following the brutal rape of the young woman who was walking home from work after stopping at a nearby garage.
The woman was threatened with a knife and pulled into the bushes before she was raped by one of the men on the Ninth Lock Road at 3am.
Wary residents in the Clondalkin, Rowlagh and Neilstown areas have called for action to reduce the possibility of further attacks.
Improved public lighting, more garda patrols, the cutting back of roadside vegetation, and more resources for community activity have been demanded since the horrific incident.
Residents also hope the garda investigation will lead to a swift prosecution of the three men involved.
Local women told the Herald they have been forced to become more conscious of their personal safety since the crime was committed.
"I used to go for a run along the route past where the rape happened, but I stopped using that route in the days afterwards," said a 38-year-old mother-of-two.
"Now my husband cycles beside me when I go for a run in the mornings," she said.
The woman spoke about her fears on the day she finally decided to resume running past the road-side spot where the woman was attacked.
"I'm about what happened but I've decided to return to this route for my morning runs. My parents still won't walk past the place," she said.
"I live just five minutes from where it happened. It was too close for comfort. Women are very wary now and the attack is all over social media. Women are worried about going out on their own. I think the worry will continue even if the guards get who did it," she said.
"Women should be able to feel safe where they live. I hate to imagine what that woman went through. My husband now is asking me where I'm going every time I leave the house.
"A lot of women are being asked by their husbands where they are going and what time they'll be back because they are worried. It's important that this crime keeps being reported in the newspapers because it may help to jog people's memories if they have any information that could help the guards," she said.
A 41-year-old mother of three said she was much more worried about the safety of her 19-year-old daughter who works in Clondalkin.
"I find it very worrying that the law is not strict enough on these type of attacks. They should get life in prison when found guilty. Why should the attackers be released from prison and come out laughing after ruining a woman's life.
"I feel very strongly about this and I think convicted rapists should not be getting free gyms in prison. It should be bread and water. Since this attack, more people are scared.
"A couple of years ago, a man was shot dead at a bus stop not far from where the rape happened. The road where it happened needs much better public lighting - big time.
"I would give my daughter and 16-year-old son pepper spray to protect themselves. It is terrible that a woman cannot go to the shop late at night if her family needs milk. Women should feel safe in their own communities," she said.
Andrew Kerins (26), who lives with his father in Rowlagh, said "it's completely disgraceful what has happened. We need a strong community response".
He said local people were "looking out for each other" much more since the attack.
"A stronger police presence along with trimming of hedges and more lighting are vital," he added