Police re-open probe into child sex assault case

February 11, 2013

An investigation into the rape and attempted murder of a child in Newry almost twenty years ago has been re-opened after police launched a fresh appeal for information in recent days.

The incident occurred close to the Barcroft Community Centre in June 1994 when an eight-year-old girl was lured away from playing with a friend and subjected to a serious sexual assault, which resulted in her being hospitalized for treatment for her injuries.

Described at the time as “an act of depravity”, the crime horrified parents and residents in the area and now, two decades later, police are making a renewed attempt to catch the man responsible.

It was around 7.00pm on Friday June 10th 1994 when the perpetrator, believed to be aged in his late teens or early twenties, lured the child away on the pretext of looking for someone, before taking her to a secluded, wooded area at the rear of Pound Road, known locally as Bull’s Hill.

The vicious nature of the sexual assault which followed, in which the girl was tied to a tree, sent shockwaves through the community and left many parents fearful for the safety of their children.

Speaking at the time, Inspector Andy Sprok of Newry CID told The Examiner the case was ‘very serious and shocking’, adding that the brave victim was able to cooperate with detectives investigating.

It was reported at the time that a junior fund-raising disco was taking place that same evening in the local Community Centre, where concerned parents rushed to check their children were safe.

The then Chairman of Barcroft Community Association, Vincent McCormack, expressed sympathy and support to the young girl and her family.

Describing the attack as ‘an act of depravity’, he said: “It seems that even in the town of Newry no one is safe from this type of behaviour.  In the light of this attack, which could have been fatal, we would ask all residents to be on the alert for anyone acting suspiciously and to come forward with information no matter how insignificant.”

It is precisely such information that detectives from the Serious Crime Branch are now seeking, although, at this stage, it is unclear what may have prompted policed to relaunch the investigation.

They have appealed to anyone who has information in relation to this attack, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to contact them on 028 38366274 / Ext 37337 / 37205 / 37206.