Belfast Telegraph

Mother's fight for justice as teenagers who 'molested' her girl escape prosecution

By Noel McAdam

A distraught family is demanding justice for their daughter after being told that no prosecution will be taken against three boys who they claim carried out a terrifying sexual assault.

The attackers were accused of subjecting the then 13-year-old Chloe Snoddy to an ordeal lasting more than an hour.

But her mother Carol is outraged after being told those allegedly involved will not be prosecuted.

The family say Chloe was stripped half-naked as the teenage boys threatened her with a 'tampered' cigarette lighter.

For more than an hour they kept Chloe captive, continually pulling at her clothes and finally leaving her standing half-naked and molested.

Now 14, the Larne schoolgirl has spoken to the Belfast Telegraph - with the agreement of her mother.

Almost 18 months later she still rarely goes out and, her mother says, spends many hours in her room in tears. "She doesn't have any good days," Carol said.

Fighting back tears, Chloe said one of the worst aspects of her experience was that she knows the identity of the three accused - and had even regarded one of them as a friend.

However, she and her mother have been told no action is being taken against the teens, who are aged between 15 and 16.

The Public Prosecution Service decided there is "insufficient evidence" to take a case against them.

But Mrs Snoddy is not prepared to accept the PPS conclusion.

"I just cannot believe that after all they put my daughter through they are going to get off," she said.

"It took months for police to investigate all of this and in the end I just get a letter saying nothing is going to be done.

"I have lost the wee bubbly girl I once had. I just want my daughter back."

Chloe was waiting for a train to Larne at Downshire halt, near Carrickfergus, with four female friends who ran off when the youths began grabbing at them, according to the Snoddy family.

The sustained assault began shortly before 8pm on July 14 last year and ended after 9pm. The teenage girl was then questioned by detectives at Carrickfergus PSNI station until 3am.

Two youths were arrested and then released.

"But I was told not to worry, the investigation was ongoing and the police were doing all they could, so we just waited," said Mrs Snoddy.

Weeks later they were told police had interviewed the youths with their parents. An 8pm curfew had been imposed on the suspected perpetrators but, Mrs Snoddy said, it was not adhered to.

It was the first time Chloe's mum had agreed to let her take the train home. She blames herself for what happened because she had always insisted on coming to pick Chloe up. But for the first time she decided, as a parent, it was time to "let go" a little.

It was when a text came through from Chloe saying she had missed her train that Mrs Snoddy realised something was wrong.

"It usually takes me half an hour working out Chloe's texts with all the abbreviations, but this was written out in full. It was not like her," she said.

"All along I had confidence these ones would be punished. Now I hear they are going round boasting they have got off. I want something done."

A PPS spokesperson said: "After very careful consideration of all the available evidence and information in this case, it has been concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction."

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