Warning after woman’s alarming ordeal on towpath
Concerns have been raised over the safety of a popular walkway in Co Armagh after a young woman was subjected to a terrifying ordeal.
Victoria Fleming from Newry took to social media this week to warn people after her sinister experience near scenic Acton Lake in Poyntzpass on Monday evening.
The young woman says she was followed on her walk at around 7pm in suspicious circumstances by a man in his 20s.
"Just to give people the heads up not to go walking on their own on the towpath," she wrote on Facebook.
"When walking from Acton Lake back to Poyntzpass, I got followed by a male in his 20s wearing a bobble hat, hoodie and tracksuit bottoms." She added: "When a lady passed us, I stopped to let this male by me but he kept turning round and staring at me.
"This continued for a while until a few people passed and I stopped to take a photo.
"A lady passed me and she knew something was up and at this stage he disappeared.
"I continued to walk on and only the lady sensed something was wrong and had stopped."
Victoria said she continued to walk a little further but then spotted the stranger in a field just off the path and hiding in the bushes.
In a desperate attempt to flee the scene, she ran towards the lady who had passed and stopped moments before.
The man himself then started running towards Poyntzpass but kept "looking behind him" as he did.
Victoria added: "I don't know whether he was going to rob me or what but he was rummaging around in the front of his trousers.
"I am just glad this lady sensed something was up.
"Please make people aware."
DUP councillor Gareth Wilson said it was "concerning" that this had happened to the young woman on what he says is a very well used canal towpath.
"People should be free to walk or cycle this route in peace and safety," he said.
Mr Wilson added: "The information has been widely circulated on social media and this widespread awareness is useful for everyone.
"I understand the PSNI has been informed of this incident and I trust that they can fully investigate these concerns as soon as possible."
In a statement, a spokesperson for the PSNI said yesterday: "Police received a report of a man behaving suspiciously in the Poyntzpass area on Monday evening, August 19.
"A female reported that she was followed by a male, when walking in the Canal Bank area of Poyntzpass between 7pm and 8pm.
"Enquiries are ongoing."