Simone Cunnane was viciously attacked and left for dead in 1994.

The Newry woman has always maintained that she was not her attacker's only victim. The brave woman has now waived her anonymity in order to bring the man to justice nearly 25 years later.

Detectives in County Down arrested a man earlier this year, whom they believe may have perpetrated the attack on Cunnane.

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The Northern Irish woman gave a heartbreaking interview to the Sunday World newspaper, recalling how she was raped, hanged from a tree, and hit over the head with a brick as a youngster.

She told of the traumatic incident, whereby a man lured her and a friend into the woods to help him "find his wee brother".

"Once he got us into the woods he told my friend to go in one direction and then he told me that I had to follow him," she said.

"He led me to an overgrown area and we were sitting on a small muck pile when he reached into his pocket and took out this rope.

"It was tied like a noose and as he took it out he said: 'My brother gave me this before he left'. The next thing he had it around my neck and was tightening it.

"I was choking and I tried to pull it away with my fingers.

"Then I started to shout and he put his hands over my mouth and told me to shut up and that he had a knife. I begged him: 'Please don't do this'."

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The man proceeded to violate the little girl.

"He did things to me and made me do things to him, then he told me to stand up," she traumatically recalled.

"With the rope that was around my neck, he tied the other part of it to a branch and pushed it off the embankment and I was swinging from the tree."

"As I was grabbing at my neck to try and get the rope off, I could see him standing in front of me, smiling. At some point I must have gone unconscious and the tree branch snapped.

"This is when he must have hit me on the back of the head with the brick. I was told after that he raped me as I was lying there unconscious."

She managed to free herself and run towards a home in a nearby town, alerting a couple who called an ambulance. At the time the police launched a major investigation, but did not succeed in finding the depraved attacker.

Five years ago, the investigation was reopened and computer generated images of the attacker were released (below). Last month, a man was arrested and released on bail pending further investigations.

Cunnane now works alongside Women's Aid and the Nexus sexual abuse counseling service.

Sexual Violence Awareness week may be over but you can continue to Make Noise for Nexus! From abseiling 100ft down Belfast Castle to lacing up for the Belfast Marathon – we’d love your support! Email to find out how to get involved. #breakthesilence

— NEXUS NI (@NEXUS_NI) February 12, 2018

Cunnane has been contacted through her role in these services by others who believe they were attacked by the same man. She has waived her anonymity to urge other women to come forward.

Women's Aid 24 hour helpline: 0808 802 1414

Nexus Sexual Abuse Directory