Northern Ireland

North Belfast sex assault victim appeals for witnesses

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Media captionDonna Hawkins appealed for help in catching her attackers

A north Belfast woman who was beaten by three men who tried to rape her has appealed for help in catching them.

Donna Hawkins, 51, has disclosed her identity in the hope it would help to apprehend the men who attacked her near the Crumlin Road early on Sunday.

The mother of three said she was repeatedly kicked and punched by the men as she shouted for help.

Ms Hawkins said she had suffered a broken nose, broken cheekbones and multiple bruises during the attack.

She said she had taken the unusual step of speaking publicly because she wanted to protect other people in the area.

Ms Hawkins said she had joined her husband at a charity function in a local club at "about half past ten and left for home before one o'clock".

Saw a figure

She said her husband was chatting to some friends and she had walked on ahead.

As she approached an alley at Balholm Drive, she said, she saw a figure whom she recognised.

"I thought I was safe walking by this person and unfortunately I wasn't. I was attacked from behind and very badly beaten," she said.

"There were two other people in the entry with him. He knows who they are and they know who they are."

"I have bruises, I have stitches and I was beaten like an animal from head to toe, for no reason at all," she said.

"They tried to rape me, they didn't succeed but they kicked me from head to toe and tried to destroy me."


She said she had kicked and screamed while attempting to fight and defend herself from "three brutal animals".

Ms Hawkins has appealed to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious to come forward.

"I'm begging people to please help me, to come forward, because this area cannot live with any more heartbreak and destruction.," she said.

She said her extended family circle did not want anyone to experience the same ordeal.

"I want help from the people and the district. People know me, I was not drunk by any stretch of the imagination," she said.

"I was quite sober and that's the point. Whoever it was attacked me, thought they were attacking someone who was drunk, but that was not the case.

"Next week, it may be someone's daughter, a young girl coming out of a fund-raiser as happened to me. We should all be able to walk in our own streets at any time of the day or night.

"It's not fair that they should be allowed to roam and attack women, or anybody. It's just not fair."