NewsCrime Desk

Seven-year-old girl escapes attempted kidnapping in Dublin

Mary McQuillan and her daughter Helena
Mary McQuillan and her daughter Helena

Helena McQuillan was left traumatised and needs counselling after the shocking incident in Ballymun on Tuesday.

The attempted snatching took place in broad daylight, at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon in Ballymun in Dublin, just a few metres from her home.

Her mother Mary has spoken to in a bid to raise awareness about the predator on the loose.

"I drop Helena to school at the Our Lady of Victories school every morning. We walk around together," she said.

"But because I have a special needs son who gets dropped home by minibus, I can't collect her and a friend of mine drops her to a gap near our house at Shangan Gardens and she comes down the avenue to come home the last few yards.

"On Tuesday, another friend of mine dropped her at the gap but I noticed Helena was late, so I rang my friend and asked about the delay.

"She said she had just dropped her off and she should be home any minute. But I still couldn't see her, so I went out to have a look. The next thing I saw her running down the lane and she was roaring crying and hysterical.

"I tried to calm her down. First I thought maybe somebody slapped her or something, but then she started crying about a man with a jacket.

"She said a man had come up behind her in the avenue. She cried 'mam, he threw a jacket over my head and face and I couldn't breathe'," Mary said.

"She managed to push the jacket off and run but the man chased her until he saw other people nearby and then he ran away."

Little Helena was left very upset by the incident and she is fearful of returning to school in case she sees the man again.

The attacker was wearing an adidas jumper and was in his 30s, according to Helena.

"I just want to put this information out there," said Mary.

"I just feel powerless now that this man has put the fear of God into my daughter and me."