Family terrorised as raiders threaten to set them on fire
RAIDERS poured petrol over the owner of a filling station and his wife and threatened to set them alight if they didn't hand over money during a vicious robbery at their home early yesterday.
Gardai believe five men were involved in the attack, in which eight people were held hostage.
The gang forced their way into the house at the Ath Leathan estate at Racecourse Road, Dundalk, Co Louth, shortly after 8am.
During the 30-minute ordeal, 36-year-old businessman Gary Mullen was savagely attacked and sustained a broken nose, suspected fractured ribs and knee injuries.
He was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda, where he later underwent treatment for his injuries.
Mr Mullen and his family said two of the gang were armed with what appeared to be handguns. The raiders were said to be eastern Europeans.
The gang made off with €2,000 after searching the house.
Mr Mullen, his 35-year-old wife, a woman in her late 40s and two teenage girls, who were all in the house at the time, were bound and gagged during the robbery.
They were described later by gardai as traumatised and very shocked as a result of their horrific ordeal.
The couple's three young children, aged one, two and four, were also in the house but were not harmed.
The raiders knocked at the kitchen door of the house in the estate, off the town's by-pass, between 8.10am and 8.15am. Mrs Mullen came downstairs and when she opened the door was confronted by two of the gang.
She was tied up and the raiders then ran to the bedroom to find her husband and violently assaulted him.
Gardai believe that after the robbery the raiders crossed a field at the rear of the house and made their getaway on to a laneway at the end of the Racecourse Road, where it was thought accomplices were waiting with transport to flee the scene.
The raiders were dressed in dark clothing and wore balaclavas and gloves.
They also wore socks over their shoes to make it more difficult for gardai to obtain forensic evidence.
The family said some of the raiders "spoke broken English" and appeared to be from eastern Europe.
Last night gardai appealed for help in tracking down the raiders and requested anybody with information to contact Dundalk station (042 9388400) or the confidential number, 1800 666111.
Gardai alerted the PSNI but, despite an extensive manhunt on both sides of the Border, there were no arrests.