NewsCrime Desk

Gardai probe suspected sex attack on student after night out

Crime DeskBy Eamon Dillon
Gardai probe suspected sex attack on student after night out

A SUSPECTED violent sex attack on a female student following a night out in Athlone is being investigated by Gardaí.

The female student is alleged to have been attacked close to student accommodation near the Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) campus, according to sources.

The attack is believed to have happened in the early hours of Thursday morning after the young woman returned home from a student event.

She has reported the incident to the Gardaí and was brought to the sexual assault unit at the Rotunda Hospital.

Gardaí confirmed an investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

AIT student union president Kevin Ronan said he couldn’t comment on the case while the probe was at an early stage.

“In general, at the start of each academic year we do give a warning to students to ensure that they mind their own personal safety and the safety of their friends and classmates,” he said.

“It’s a general safety announcement to encourage students not to walk home alone, to take taxis if they’re travelling at night, to lock houses and doors.”

Athlone had been at the centre of serious concerns that a serial sex offender had been stalking the area for a number of years.

In 2007 there was a publicity campaign to catch the culprit, who carried out three violent assaults in just two months.

Gardaí distributed photofit pictures in an effort to track down the man, who struck at the same spot near at Bonavalley Bridge every time.

Crimestoppers also offered a reward of €10,000 for information leading to the capture of the man.

However, Gardaí do not believe this week’s attack is linked to the previous rapes and are following a separate line of enquiry.