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Solved - Aggravated Sexual Assault in Galway on the 30/9/04

On the 30th of September 2004, a young student was sexually assaulted at Lough Atalia, Galway. The young student was making her way to a friends house and took a shortcut behind the Huntsman Public House on the Dublin Road at Lough Atalia. As she walked through the pathway, a male approached her and grabbed her. He threatened her with a screwdriver and subjected her to a harrowing sexual assault.

The woman provided a detailed witness statement to investigating Gardaí which was vital to their investigation at the time. They recovered several items at the scene belonging to the victim and a possible suspect, however the real breakthrough came however the following day when a council worker in a local cemetery found a pair of jeans and a jumper, placed on the side of a skip. The council worker was aware of the sexual assault that had occurred the previous night and immediately contacted the Gardaí.

The items seized at the scene of the assault and the clothing found in the cemetery were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for DNA Analysis. A DNA Profile was created for a possible suspect from the samples obtained on the clothing found in the cemetery and this profile was generated through Interpol to the UK DNA Database. A positive match was found for a male who had been arrested in the UK for a minor road traffic matter. This male was known to the Gardaí in Galway, extensive investigations followed and he was subsequently arrested on the 30th December 2004 in Portlaoise. He pleaded guilty to Aggravated Sexual Assault and was sentenced to eleven years in prison.

We highlight the investigation techniques used by the investigating Gardaí in this case and highlight the work of the Forensic Science Laboratory.

Member I/C  Inspector Mick Coppinger Galway Garda Station