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'Extremely serious' Second man wanted after teenager (19) is quizzed over Sligo sex assaults

Another man, who is aged in his 20s and is well known to the arrested man, is also wanted for questioning by gardaí.

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Gardaí at St Marys GAA grounds at Ballydoogan, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Gardaí at St Marys GAA grounds at Ballydoogan, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Gardaí at St Marys GAA grounds at Ballydoogan, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

GARDAÍ investigating two "extremely serious" sexual assaults on two teenage girls in the Sligo town area still want to talk to another suspect after a 19-year-old presented himself for questioning yesterday morning.

The teenager was arrested, and last night he was still being questioned about sexually assaulting one of the girls at a property near Sligo and also at a location near that property on January 22.

It is understood the suspect left the country after the alleged assault but was aware he was wanted by gardaí.

Another man, who is aged in his 20s and is well known to the arrested man, is also wanted for questioning by gardaí.

He is alleged to have sexually assaulted another girl on the same date and at the same location.

Both suspects live in Co Leitrim but are originally from the Sligo area. They are previously known to gardaí for involvement in minor crime.

It is understood the suspect aged in his 20s is now in the UK.

Sources say there was no abduction element involved in the crimes.

"Gardaí investigating a number of alleged assaults near Sligo town on Saturday, January 22, 2022, have made an arrest this morning," a garda spokesman said yesterday.

"An adult teenager (male) is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at a garda station in the Sligo and Leitrim Division."

On the weekend of the assaults, a GAA ground and a house were sealed off as potential crime scenes following the complaint by the two alleged victims.

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The two girls, aged in their mid-teens, reported they were seriously sexually assaulted some time between 8pm and 10pm.

They were out socialising earlier that day before being assaulted.

"To say that they were taken advantage of by the suspects is an understatement," a source told the Herald.

The grounds at St Mary's GAA club in Ballydoogan and a nearby property were cordoned off and examined after gardaí received information about the incident.

The local area was also canvassed for CCTV footage.

An incident room was established at Sligo garda station, and a senior investigating officer was appointed to oversee the inquiry.

An appeal was made for a taxi driver working in Sligo that night who took a fare to a nearby town to contact gardaí.

This taxi driver was quickly in touch with gardaí, who have been investigating the case for more than six weeks.

Suspects were identified within days but they could not be located by gardaí.

Detectives from the Divisional Protective Services Unit, which specialises in dealing with child victims, are helping with the investigation.

It is understood mobile phone evidence has played a key part in the investigation.

Detectives also examined video footage of the girls which was posted online.

The case is not linked to an investigation into a complaint of an alleged sexual assault which occurred four days later outside a student accommodation complex close to IT Sligo.

Sources say that investigation has been finalised and there will be no prosecutions.

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