Couple tied up as home ransacked by raiders
GARDAI were last night hunting a three-man gang which tied up a retired auctioneer and his partner in their luxury home and made off with jewellery and paintings.
The thugs assaulted Patrick Ford (70) and Diane Flanagan before ransacking their home at Rocky Valley Lodge in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, early yesterday morning.
Armed with a hatchet and two crowbars, the raiders broke into the house at about 2.30am and threatened the terrified occupants.
Ms Flanagan was struck on the nose while Mr Ford was thumped across the back of the head.
They were tied up while the gang searched several rooms in the house before making off with a safe, paintings and jewellery.
Gardai said later that the safe contained mainly personal documents, while a value on the paintings and jewels had not yet been finalised.
Ms Flanagan said last night that they remained tied up for about 45 minutes and she then managed to free herself from her bonds and slipped out through a window before raising the alarm.
Gardai last night appealed to anybody who was in the Rocky Valley area between 2.30am and 3.30am and noticed a group of men acting suspiciously to contact them at the investigation headquarters at Bray garda station on 01-6665300, or on the confidential line 1800 666111.
Officers said they were particularly interested in two cars that had been seen near the house around the time of the raid. The vehicles were described as a silver Fiat Punto and a silver Nissan Primera, or a similar car.
All of the gang spoke with Dublin accents. Two were said to be between 5ft 10in and 6ft tall, while the third man was about 6ft 5in.
The exclusive house is situated in a quiet area near the foot of the Sugarloaf mountain in a setting with breathtaking views.
Separately, gardai in south Dublin were last night investigating an incident in which a couple of shots were fired into a house at Bluebell Road in Drimnagh in the early hours of yesterday.
Officers said they were not certain of a motive for the attack.
The two occupants of the house were asleep in bed when the shots were fired through a bedroom window at about 2am. Nobody was hurt, gardai said.