Mother pleads for vigilance as gardaí probe approach to child

A mother has urged parents to never take their eyes off their children, saying “we were seconds away from our worst nightmare”.

Gardaí in Drogheda are investigating a suspicious approach to the woman’s nine-year-old girl on Sunday afternoon.

“I believe that the Stay Safe programme which she did in national school saved her. I am convinced of it,” said her mother yesterday from their home in Tullyallen, Co Louth.

The youngster was walking at the entrance gates to the estate when a red car stopped and the driver invited her to get in and said he would take her on a trip to Bettystown beach, about 15 minutes’ drive away. There was another man in the car.

“She didn’t answer him, she just screamed and ran home. I am convinced she reacted that way because she did the Stay Safe programme in school and it stood to her. I am convinced it saved her,” said her mother.

“You never expect this to happen on your own doorstep. We were just seconds away from our worst nightmare.”

She said the weather has resulted in more children staying out for longer and “we all kind of let our guard down”.

“We can’t. I believe this was an opportunistic approach by these men. I don’t think they were stalking her. They got a fright when she screamed and they drove off at speed.”

Gardaí confirmed they were investigating and that they have carried out door-to-door enquiries.

The estate, Gleann Alainn, is on the main road through Tullyallen village, and CCTV footage is being examined to identify and trace the car. A Garda spokesman said both men in the car appeared to be in their 40s and one was bald. He also confirmed a file has been prepared for the DPP in relation to a suspicious approach to a teenage girl in Drogheda town earlier this month.

The 14-year-old was walking near the cinema on a Sunday afternoon when a man in his 50s offered her cash to go with him to his home. He made inappropriate suggestions to her.

A man has been interviewed about the incident and a file is expected to be sent to the DPP shortly.


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