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Man arrested in connection with the rape of girl (8) in Newry in 1994

An artist's impression of the attack suspect as he appeared in 1994. Picture by PSNI

A MAN in his 40s has been arrested in connection with the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Newry more than two decades ago.

Police investigating the prolonged and violent sexual assault of the child, who was tied to a tree and left for dead in woodland, detained the man in the Newry area.

The schoolgirl was playing with a friend close to Barcroft Community Centre on June 10 1994 when she was approached by a man aged in his late teens or early 20s.

He separated her from her friend and took her to an area of woodland within Daisy Hill Nursery where he assaulted her.

Now almost 24 years after the brutal attack, police have questioned a man.

A PSNI spokesman said the man was arrested on January 30 as part of the police investigation. He was released on police bail pending further enquiries.

In February 2013, police re-opened the investigation, which is being treated as attempted murder.

Fresh appeals for information have also been made with detectives previously releasing two computer generated images of the suspect.

Speaking about her terrifying ordeal in 2014, the victim told how she had been making her way to play football at the community centre with a seven-year-old boy when they were approached by the man.

The man asked them to help him find his younger brother.

The children went with the man into woodland behind the community centre, where he convinced them to take different routes through the trees.

The children became separated and the victim said when the boy left the area, the man attacked and sexually abused her.

"I do get angry about it, thinking 20 years later he's still walking about you know? Is he still in this area? Does he know who I am now maybe," she told the BBC.

"Stuff like that goes through your mind, especially now that I have children of my own."

The woman also said she wanted to get the rapist "off the streets and get the justice I deserve".

Another image of the suspected attacker

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