St Columb’s Park sexual assault allegation: Man being questioned

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Police have confirmed that two 17-year-old girls have reported being sexually assaulted in separate alleged incidents in St Columb’s Park in Derry over the weekend.

The first incident is alleged to have occurred on Friday night and a 15-year-old boy was subsequently arrested, charged with rape and appeared in court in Derry on Monday.

Police said the second report was received on Sunday night, and that a 20 year old male suspect was arrested on Monday morning and remains in police custody.

PSNI Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “There is no link between these incidents and in both cases detectives were able to locate and quickly arrest suspects.

“As those cases are now subject to the legal process, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further, however it is not the case that people frequenting St Columb’s Park should be alarmed or reluctant to visit.

“Local police work closely with park wardens and other relevant statutory agencies on an ongoing basis to try to ensure the park is a safe environment for all.

“We will meet with our partners in the coming days to collectively examine how we can continue to improve in this area and if extra measures can be implemented.

“The park forms part of our regular patrols and officers carry out frequent checks of the area when they not responding to emergency calls or providing assistance to the public.”

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed that Council would work closely with the PSNI to ensure the park remains a safe area for the public.

The spokesperson said: “Council reviews security at the park on an ongoing basis, and we will be liaising with the police and relevant statutory partners to consider how safety issues at the park can be effectively addressed going forwards.

“We would urge the public to respect that St Columb’s Park is a shared community space frequented by families and young children, and to report any incidents directly to the PSNI, and our park rangers by contacting Council’s Park Manager Team on 02871 253253.”