Man in custody over alleged abduction attempt in Laois

It is understood the suspect is on bail in relation to alleged robbery offence

 

A 35-year-old man remained in Garda custody on Thursday night where he was being questioned over allegations he attempted to abduct a young girl in Co Laois.

It is understood the suspect is out on bail in relation to an alleged robbery offence.

His arrest followed reports of a man in a four-wheel drive vehicle who stopped and spoke to two children on a roadside in Cullahill, Co Laois at 11am on Wednesday.

It is understood he then put the 11-year-old girl into the vehicle.

The girl’s 10-year-old brother had the wherewithal to distract the driver by grabbing onto the passenger window and allowing his sister time to get out. She was unharmed during the incident.

The alarm was subsequently raised and the suspect drove away from the scene.

He was apprehended yesterday in Co Kilkenny after a member of the public spotted his stolen vehicle, a Nissan 4x4 X-Trail, which had been the subject of a community text alert.

Witnesses claimed the driver, who is not thought to be from the local area, had been acting suspiciously in the vehicle before the incident and had been begging.

Before he approached the children, he called to the home of a local priest from whom he sought money.

It is understood the priest later contacted gardaí when he received the alert text, a system praised for its effectiveness.

The man is described as being approximately 6’2’’ in height with grey hair and of thin build.

He is likely to remain in custody until sometime on Friday evening.

Gardaí are currently analysing CCTV footage in a bid to track his movements, although it is thought to be an isolated incident.

People living in the area praised the success of the community text alert which was initiated immediately after the children raised the alarm and which eventually led to the identification of the 4x4 vehicle in Kilkenny, from where it had been stolen, and the apprehension of the suspect.

Local Fine Gael councillor John King said: “The family are in shock but they are getting great support from the neighbours.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact 999, 112 or Portlaoise Garda station on (057) 8674100.