Two sex offenders wanted by police for a range of offences, and who were hiding out in Donegal last week, have been arrested in the North.
Child rapist James White, 48, and associate Jason Lydiard, 26, roamed the border counties, bringing fear to local communities.
However, on Saturday the two have were captured by the PSNI in Newry after an incident during which they were set upon in the Mullaghbawn area.
It appears the men may have been attacked before being doused in cement powder and blue paint.
An angry mob shouted at the men before the pair was arrested by PSNI detectives.
Sightings of the pair in various towns across Donegal over the weekend sparked a social media frenzy. Pictures of the pair’s blue, Cork-registered car was posted online and shared extensively.
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police were alerted to reports of an assault in the area and upon arrival discovered the two men. Both had sustained injuries and have been taken to hospital for treatment.”
Detective Chief Inspector Jill Duffie from PSNI Public Protection Branch added: “I understand that feelings in the area have been running high over the search for these men. However, there can never be an excuse for violence or people taking the law into their own hands. We will be investigating the assault and working to identify anyone involved.”
Police are investigating reports that the duo — both originally from the North and considered “high-risk sex offenders” — may have been approaching children as part of a double act.
Lydiard — who also uses the name Alexis Guesto and considers himself a born-again Christian — is also suspected of using a fake social media profile as part of his plans to identify potential victims.
Although the pair served time in the North, they are still required to inform gardaí of their whereabouts.
Investigators believe the pair became friends after Lydiard, originally from Co Down, was freed from custody in the North earlier this year.
He had finished a seven-month sentence for ignoring a court order banning him from online dating sites.
Although Lydiard has nine previous convictions for sexual assault, assaults causing harm, and threats to kill, White is considered to be the more dangerous.
White, who is originally from south Armagh, he was jailed here in 1998 for horrific attacks — two counts of buggery and five charges of sexual assault — on a teenage boy in Co Meath. He was freed in 2003.
He once threatened to kill a social worker with a hammer, has 62 previous convictions, including sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm, and threats to kill. After completing his sentence here, he returned to the North in 2006 and was living in different areas across the border.
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