SHOCKED schoolchildren looked on in terror as a neighbour ran for his life from a group of men.
Within seconds the afternoon tranquillity of a suburban housing estate was shattered, as a revved-up BMW pummelled another car in broad daylight.
Desperately trying to make a getaway was Richard O'Donovan, who clearly realised he was under dire threat.
However, his frantic attempts to evade his attackers were thwarted, because a car had broken down only minutes earlier in the entrance to the estate. It was being mounted on a tow truck, and blocked his getaway, as he tried to flee to safety.
Witnesses described how Mr O'Donovan "ran in a blind panic'' to try and find some hiding place.
Shocked neighbours peered out of upstairs windows in the relatively new housing estate, built just 10 years ago, to see the father-of-three then subjected to a "frenzied and ferocious" beating.
"They grabbed Mr O'Donovan and beat him really badly before throwing him into their vehicle,'' said one witness.
It is understood Mr O'Donovan's partner, who works locally, was not at home at the time.
Neighbours described the couple as "quiet and unassuming" and said they "keep largely to themselves." They said little was known about Mr O'Donovan as he was a relatively "new face''.
Mr O'Donovan's partner has lived in the detached house with her child for four years, while he moved in with her less than eight weeks ago. "They're very nice people and extremely pleasant," said one neighbour who did not wish to be named.