Downpatrick outrage after two men subject girl to 'monstrous' attack on way home from school
A 13-year-old girl fought off two sex attackers on her way home from school.
She was subjected to an indecent assault in Downpatrick by two men dressed in black as she strayed into a poorly lit area, but managed to escape her attackers and run to the bus station where she raised the alarm.
It is understood the girl is from outside Downpatrick and is a student at St Mary's High School.
She was on her way home from school at around 5.10pm on Tuesday when she was approached by the men near an alleyway close to the scouts hall on Thomas Russell Park.
The girl fought the attackers off and escaped across Dunleath Park. The PSNI have described the men as being dressed all in black, adding the girl had been wearing her school uniform.
An officer described the area where the attack took place as "poorly lit".
The PSNI have urged a woman who was walking a dog in the area just before the attack happened to come forward and help them with their investigations.
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has pledged her support to the girl, and described the attack as a "dreadful incident".
"I am very saddened to hear about this distasteful incident," she said.
"My sympathy to the young girl; she requires all our support and help, and anybody with information should give it to the police."
SDLP councillor and local youth worker Colin McGrath said people in the area are horrified by the incident, blasting it as "monstrous".
"This attack on such a young and vulnerable girl in a residential area was monstrous and those involved must be caught," he said.
"Parents in the area are horrified by this incident and will hold their children a little closer.
"It is very disappointing that after such an attack families may feel they have to think twice about letting their children play outside.
"We must have streets where the safety of children from this type of crime is assured."
Mr McGrath has urged anyone with information to talk to the PSNI.
Local people voiced their outrage about the attack on the PSNI's Facebook page for the Down area.
Sandra Simmons said no one should have to go through such an attack.
"Someone must have heard or saw something, please don't be afraid to come forward, this girl needs her attackers brought to justice," she said. "Even if you think you saw something but aren't sure, it might help the police with their investigation. I hope the girl gets the help and support she needs. No one should have to go through this."
Jade Magee added: "Downpatrick is getting worse. Some kind of justice needs to be had where these scumbags are concerned... our kids can't be on their way home from school in the early evening (then have) something like this happening to them... it disgusts me... poor girl must have been terrified.
"My thoughts are with her and her family whoever they may be... hopefully the dog walker can provide some more information."