Belfast Telegraph

Photo helps police identify woman

A woman at the centre of a worldwide police appeal after being found in Dublin confused and virtually unable to communicate has been identified.

The blonde woman, who spoke little English since being found in the city centre almost a month ago, is believed to be from Australia and in her early 20s.

One line of inquiry being examined is that she was in Ireland to visit relatives and her last known whereabouts was when she left them, saying she would travel around the country.

It is understood a relative called to a Garda station in Dublin after seeing a photograph issued in the appeal. A passport is believed to have confirmed her identity.

In a statement, police said that following the assistance of the public, they were now following a definite line of inquiry.

"Gardai wish to sincerely thank the public and the media for their assistance. They also wish to inform them that no further assistance is required at this time," they said.

It was initially thought the girl was aged only 14 or 15 and European.

The photograph of her was released worldwide from mid-morning on Tuesday and within 10 hours detectives revealed they had identified her and were liaising with police in Australia.

The unprecedented step to release the picture was given the go-ahead after police went to the High Court in Dublin and explained several weeks of investigation and 115 separate lines of inquiry turned up no leads.

Lawyers who successfully argued for the photo to be releases said it was extraordinary circumstances after the investigation "hit a brick wall".

Officers had been unable to get any substantive information from the woman over a period of weeks and she communicated on a number of occasions by drawing.

It is believed a further court hearing will take place following her identification to determine how the investigation will proceed and how the woman will be cared for in the interim.

She was found on O'Connell Street in a distressed state by gardai on a routine afternoon patrol on October 10. S he was wearing a purple hooded top, tight dark-coloured jeans, flat black shoes and a grey woollen jumper when found.

She is now in care with Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE).

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