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'Horror story' Teen girl (17) attacked by man with 'sharp implement' while running in Kilkenny

The teenager was treated for minor injuries after the assault in the Johnstown area

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Gardaí pictured at a scene of an assault on a young woman while out walking near Johnstown Co. Kilkenny.

Gardaí pictured at a scene of an assault on a young woman while out walking near Johnstown Co. Kilkenny.

Gardaí at the scene of the alleged assault on a young woman who was out walking near Johnstown in Co Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

Gardaí at the scene of the alleged assault on a young woman who was out walking near Johnstown in Co Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

Gardaí at the scene of the alleged assault on a young woman who was out walking near Johnstown in Co Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

Gardaí at the scene of the alleged assault on a young woman who was out walking near Johnstown in Co Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

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Gardaí pictured at a scene of an assault on a young woman while out walking near Johnstown Co. Kilkenny.

Gardaí are investigating whether a 17-year-old girl who was out jogging in a rural part of north Co Kilkenny was attacked by a man who had a sharp implement, possibly a scissors.

The local girl was injured in what is described as a “brief struggle” with her assailant.

She required hospital treatment after the assault but is now recovering at her home.

Local people this evening expressed horror at news of the incident.

One line in the garda investigation is that it may have been an attempted abduction.

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Gardaí at the scene of the alleged assault on a young woman who was out walking near Johnstown in Co Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

Gardaí at the scene of the alleged assault on a young woman who was out walking near Johnstown in Co Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

Gardaí at the scene of the alleged assault on a young woman who was out walking near Johnstown in Co Kilkenny. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

A large garda presence remained this evening at the scene of the incident in Johnstown, Co Kilkenny but there have been no arrests.

A number of searches also involving the garda helicopter were ongoing this evening in the locality which is just outside the village of Johnstown.

“Gardaí in Kilkenny are investigating the circumstances of an incident between a teenage girl and an unknown male which took place near Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny today shortly after 12 midday,” a Garda spokesman said in a statement.

“The girl was approached by the male and assaulted before the man left the scene.

“The teenage girl was taken to St Luke’s General Hospital Kilkenny and treated for shock and a physical injury (non-life threatening). Investigating Gardaí have carried out an initial interview with the girl.

“The male is best described, at this time, as a white male in his 40s with an Irish accent.

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“Gardaí continue to carry out enquiries and recover CCTV from the area.”

The spokesperson added: “Gardaí are appealing for any person travelling on the R639 between Johnstown and The Gallops (a minor road also known locally as Cullinanes Lane), Ballyspellan, between 11am and 12.15pm, particularly any person with any video footage (dashcam or other recording device) to contact Gardaí at Kilkenny at 056 7775000, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.”

The incident in Kilkenny comes just two weeks after the killing of teacher Ashling Murphy shocked the country.

Thousands of people attended vigils following the death of the Offaly schoolteacher who was attacked while out running on the Grand Canal at Cappincur in Tullamore.

This evening, local Fine Gael Kilkenny councillor Mary Hilda Cavanagh said people are shocked and appalled by the incident in Johnstown.

Ms Cavanagh said all assaults are disturbing, particularly attacks on women.

“Thank God she’s not badly physically injured but she’s mentally traumatised,” she said.

“It will be something that will live with her for a long time, but it’s another horror story, appalling.”

Ms Cavanagh said it was all the more shocking that it happened in a rural area.

“Johnstown is one of the most pleasant places you could find to live in,” she said.

"Anyone attacked at any time is terribly disturbing but especially a woman attacked.

"The fact that women are so vulnerable, and a woman will always find it very hard to fight off someone who is physically stronger, that’s what makes it so terrifying, and it has become far too common.

"I think that we have to have a serious sea change in our attitude towards women.

“The people I was talking to are just appalled – stunned, shocked, appalled, they are the words.”

Ms Cavanagh added that local people are “so happy that she hasn’t been seriously physically injured but as I said the mental trauma is the worst of all”.

Fianna Fáil councillor Michael McCarthy described Johnstown as a close-knit community, and he echoed Ms Cavanagh's comments.

"Something like this, it's a major shock that something like this could occur,” he said.

"It's a quiet, rural area and a close-knit community. What more can you say? So soon after the tragedy in Tullamore.”

More to follow...

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