Girl who used karate skills to fight off attacker is 'reliving the attack every minute'

Kate Mulhern with her puppy, Mia. Picture: Seamus Farrelly

A plucky teenager who warded off her attacker with a karate kick says she relives the terrifying incident every minute but hopes her 'scary story' will save someone else.

Kate Mulhern, 17, has been overwhelmed by the huge public response after telling how she used her kenpo training to protect herself and send her attacker flying.

The kenpo brown-belt was walking their new puppy Mia not far from their home at Blackcastle Demense in Navan, Co Meath at 2pm last Tuesday when she noticed that a man seemed to be following her.

She says she texted her friend about her concerns before the man confronted her and tried to pull her into a waiting black saloon car, driven by another man.

As her pup growled and barked, Kate saw an opening and gave the man, in his 40s, a karate kick to his ribs which sent him flying back against the car, in which he made his escape.

Although she admits she is still shaken, Kate is now going to continue teaching kenpo to younger children and is encouraging everyone to learn some form of self-defence.

"It's still crazy. I'm just shell shocked at all the reaction. I think the reality of what happened only really began to sink in yesterday," she said

Kate who trains with Irish Kenpo Karate Union chief Instructor in Dublin represented Ireland twice last year and competed in the World Championships in Tenerife in 2017.

"I went training last night and everything seemed to be going in one ear and out the other.

I'm reliving the attack every minute and thinking what could've happened.

"I think 'why me?' but the reality is that it could have been anyone and anyone who hasn't got the training I have.

"I feel a bit nervous going out again but all this positive coverage has boosted my confidence and self-belief.

"I know I was able to do this and I know I'll be able to do it again, if necessary."

Kate now wants to turn her ordeal into positivity and will continue to teach her kenpo skills to younger children in the Johnstown Kenpo Karate Club after Easter.

Amazingly, even her nine-year-old sister Sarah who gave up kenpo now wants to return to further her own skills after learning of Kate's attack.

I never thought I'd have the confidence to talk like this but I want to turn my scary story into something positive and if it helps one other person, it will all be worth it.

"It's great that my little sister has also decided to come back to Kenpo"

Mum Hazel added: "Although she fights in competitions, Kate by nature is timid and non-confrontational so I'm very proud that she was able to instinctively use her training in this danger.

"Parents think this happens elsewhere, I thought these things happened elsewhere. They don't.

"They happen anywhere and here and I would urge parents to look into getting some form of self-defence lessons for their children."

Gardaí have confirmed they are investigating the incident.

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