Key to Maynooth attacker may rest with injured Kym Owens

Police believe culprit was not on the same bus as the 18-year-old, who remains in coma

Gardaí investigating the violent attack on Kym Owens in Maynooth do not now believe her attacker travelled on the same bus as her.

The first-year student at NUI Maynooth was violently assaulted as she walked to her accommodation in the Kildare town last Sunday night.

From Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, Ms Owens (18) had caught an evening bus service from her home place to Maynooth ahead of the new week in college.

However, just moments after disembarking the bus she was set upon in a housing estate on the outskirts of the town and was left with life-threatening head injuries.

The possibility her attacker had been on the bus and had followed her from Co Monaghan to Maynooth had been explored.

However, a review of her fellow passengers on the bus has not given rise to any suspects.

Gardaí are still hopeful she will recover and may be able to aid the investigation of the crime, which has resulted in considerable fear in the Co Kildare town, especially among female students at NUI Maynooth.

Ms Owens suffered fractures to her head and face, including her eye sockets, nose and jaw and lost a number of teeth in the attack.

She remains unconscious in hospital just over a week later and gardaí are still seeking a breakthrough in the case.

Given the nature of her injuries, which appeared to be inflicted by somebody with extreme motivation to harm her, gardaí suspected somebody Ms Owens knew or perhaps had rebuffed after a romantic approach may have been responsible for the attack.


Sightings of possible suspects in or around Maynooth – either by witnesses or in CCTV footage – has been complicated because of the heavy fog on the night.

Gardaí say Ms Owens might have recognised her attacker or at least may be able to offer a description if it was a stranger attack.

They also say she would be able to confirm whether she was worried about anybody in her life or had any fears around being followed or stalked on social media by somebody she knew, or a stranger.

However, given her condition and the fact she remains in an induced coma as her body heals, it may be some time before she is conscious and in a position to be interviewed by gardaí.

She is undergoing treatment at James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, west Dublin.

Detectives have spoken to her family members and friends but it appears no firm suspect has emerged.

However, gardaí stressed that progress is often be made very quickly even if the smallest piece of information is supplied by witnesses.

They last night canvassed locals on the Moyglare Abbey Estate where the attack occurred last Sunday at 8.30pm.

They also spoke to motorists passing through the area in the event people who were in the vicinity last Sunday may have a weekly routine that would bring them back again last night.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times