Police are appealing for help in finding the man who subjected a woman to a “serious sexual assault” at Peatlands Park yesterday (Wednesday).
The PSNI’s Rape Crime Unit has described the attack on the woman – which happened shortly before 3pm – as “appalling”.
Investigating officers say the woman was attacked by an unknown assailant as she was walking her dog at the popular beauty spot, which sits on the border of Counties Armagh and Tyrone on the shores of Lough Neagh.
The PSNI said the male, estimated to be in his 20s, left the scene on what was believed to have been a black mountain bike.
He is described as being around six feet tall and was clean shaven, with a chubby face and “droopy eyes”. He was dressed all in black and wore a high-vis jacket and had a cycling helmet on.
Detective Inspector Lynne Knox is leading the enquiry into an attack which has caused shock and revulsion in the local community and beyond.
“This was an appalling attack and police are pursuing all investigative lines of enquiry,” said DI Knox.
“I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed this assault or observed anything suspicious to contact Detectives at the Rape Crime Unit on the non-emergency number 101.”
Information can also be passed anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
Peatlands Park is popular with joggers, dog walkers and young mums.
The area was cordoned off throughout the afternoon and last night as police investigators scoured the area.
They said only at the time they were investigating the circumstances surrounding a “serious incident”.
This morning (Thursday), local DUP Councillor Jonny Buckley said he had spoken to senior officers and they confirmed the attack was “as feared a serious assault of a sexual nature”.
He told Armagh I: “As a local councillor for the area it is indeed very distressing to learn that an incident of this nature has taken place and in broad daylight, in such a family friendly park that is frequently made use of by people of all ages.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the lady involved in this assault and her family at this very difficult time.
“I will be liaising with the PSNI on this matter as they continue to carry out their investigations.
“It is vital that those responsible for this attack are apprehended and are swiftly brought to justice for their actions.
“I would urge anyone with information to contact the police on the non-emergency 101 phone number.”
The Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Councillor Darryn Causby has strongly condemned the attack.
“This is an appalling attack on this woman. Peatlands Park is a very popular spot with walkers, joggers and plenty of families enjoying the play park and pond,” he said.
“What’s even more shocking is that this attack took place in broad daylight. People should feel safe and secure when out enjoying themselves.
“I would appeal for people to vigilant and for anyone who knows anything to contact the PSNI with any information or the crime stoppers helpline. This is something that we don’t want to see again.
“There’s no room for this violent crime in our society.”