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A young Eastern European prostitute was stabbed in the neck with a needle, beaten and robbed in a city centre apartment during the same period that a major Garda "honey trap" sting operation was being run against men for street soliciting in Limerick last weekend.
The attack on the young Eastern European was only brought to garda attention when they were alerted by staff at Limerick Regional Hospital, where the woman had gone for treatment. No one has been arrested and no public appeal for assistance was issued. Gardai are examining CCTV footage to try to identify her attacker.
She is also being tested to see if the needle was infected. Gardai last week expressed surprise at the Limerick "honey trap" operation. It is the first time in their knowledge that suspects have been paraded in numbers in court rather than the usual method of being given a "station warning" and allowing their anonymity to be kept for the sake of their families.
Several of the 27 men charged are married with families. Two of the 21 who pleaded guilty on Tuesday were subsequently written about in a tabloid newspaper. Both men, one a retired school principal and the other a well-known GAA figure, and both in their 60s, have grown families. None of those charged had previously been before the courts other than on minor traffic offences. It is also the first time that Garda HQ has alerted the media prior to a case of alleged solicitation coming before the courts.
The Garda Press Office issued a release to all news organisations on Tuesday prior to the court appearances. This would indicate that the marshalling of the media was sanctioned at the highest levels in the force, gardai said. Last month, in one busy Dublin station, detectives involved in murder and other major investigations were diverted along with 10 uniformed gardai to raid an apartment where three young Eastern European women were working as prostitutes.