The Australian girl who has been at the centre of a garda and HSE identity enquiry has family connections in Clonmel and spent several weeks in the town before her ‘discovery’ in a distressed state in Dublin.
Samantha Azzopardi, who it has now emerged is an Australian woman aged 25, spent a few weeks in the town before she travelled to Dublin by bus on the day she was found by gardai outside the GPO in what was described as ‘a distressed state.’
Following an extensive garda and HSE search for her identity the unprecedented step was taken to release a photograph of the girl, who they thought was a teenager, and within hours a phone call came from Clonmel to say who she was.
That phone call came from the family friend in Prior Park with whom Samantha had been staying since September.
When she was first found by gardai it was feared she had been trafficked to Ireland to work in the sex industry. Since her identification, earlier this week, gardai have been in touch with Australian police authorities who informed them Miss Azzopardi has a criminal history and is known for telling false stories. Gardai and the HSE do however accept that she is a very vulnerable young woman.
A High Court hearing today (Thursday) is expected to decide whether Miss Azzopardi will remain in the care of the HSE.