Gardaí probe rape of elderly woman

Gardaí investigating what is been described as the shocking rape of an elderly woman have taken statements from a number of people who attended a party near her home on Friday night.

It is understood the house party in Sneem, Co Kerry, was attended by a large number of people, including locals, holidaymakers, and people working in the area for the summer.

The incident is understood to have occurred in the early hours in a rural part of south Kerry, some miles from the village.

Gardaí believe young people who arrived unexpectedly at the woman’s house about an hour before the attack — after leaving the party in the village — may be able to help them with their inquiries.

It is understood a man entered the woman’s home between 5.30am and 8am.

It is not clear whether the earlier incident, in which the group of youths apparently surrounded the woman’s house, was related to the attack.

However, the woman was frightened by the incident and rang neighbours to alert them. The attack is understood to have taken place around an hour later, when a man entered her home.

The woman, who is in her 70s, was brought to the sexual assault examination unit in Cork — after she herself raised the alarm.

Garda scenes of crime examiners sealed off the house and carried out a thorough forensic examination. They have interviewed a number of people and have taken statements from several people who attended the party. A statement has also been taken from the woman.

The attack is causing anxiety among the local community, and yesterday, chairman of the Castelcove-Sneem Community Association, Tadgh McCarthy, said the entire district was “shocked, saddened, and disgusted”.

He said people living on their own should not be reluctant to ring gardaí, and neighbours should check on people living on their own.

Meanwhile, gardaí hope to press charges against a group of five teenage boys for a suspected gang rape of an underage girl.

The incident took place last March in south Dublin and detectives are completing a detailed file for the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP, in consultation with senior officers, will make the decision whether or not to direct a prosecution. The girl, 15, has claimed that five boys, one of whom is aged 14, raped her at a party in her own home after alcohol was consumed.

The other boys are understood to be aged 15 or 16.

A team of detectives from Rathfarnham Garda Station have been conducting an investigation over the last five months. This work culminated in the arrests last Saturday morning of the five suspects at their homes. They were questioned in front of their parents — as required by law for those under 18 — and had their periods of detention extended.

All five were later released, while the process began of examining their statements and checking for contradictions.

The five suspects, along with other juveniles, attended the party, where they consumed alcohol.

Gardaí in Killarney, Co Kerry, are also investigating a reported sexual assault on a woman in a car park in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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