Sunday 26 February 2017

Frail couple gagged in armed raid

Pensioner begs gang not to hurt his wife as they burst into home

Ralph Riegel and Conor Kane

Gardai search for clues following the raid on the couple's
home in Saleen, Co Waterford
Gardai search for clues following the raid on the couple's home in Saleen, Co Waterford
The house where the burglary took place

A 79-YEAR-OLD man begged an armed gang not to hurt his wife as they raided his family home.

The terrifying burglary of Nicholas and Kathleen Dunphy's house at Corballymore, Saleen, Co Waterford, was the second theft the frail couple have endured over recent years.

Three masked raiders armed with a hatchet and a hammer stole a small quantity of cash from the terrified pensioners.

The raiders burst in to the couple's home after Mr Dunphy -- known as 'Nicksy' -- opened his door at 9.30pm on Monday night, believing it was a neighbour calling. His wife, also 79, was asleep in bed -- and Mr Dunphy, a former Waterford Co Council worker, desperately pleaded with the raiders not to upset or harm her.

After ransacking the bungalow, the raiders left the couple bound and gagged.

Mrs Dunphy eventually managed to free herself before raising the alarm with neighbours.

Yesterday, the elderly couple were recovering from their ordeal with their daughters, Alice and Bernie, in Ballymacaw.

Both women stressed their parents were "too upset" to talk to the media.

"We are all in shock," explained Bernie who works in local public house, White's.

Last night neighbours and friends spoke of their horror over the break-in. Neighbour Anthony Caulfield said: "It is terrible that you cannot feel safe in your own home -- this is a quiet area but I suppose this is all to do with the recession."

Sickened

Martin Mahoney said people in rural Ireland were now afraid to answer their door at night. "There's a lot out there just intent on robbing," he said.

Local councillor Pat Fitzgerald, a family friend, said the entire community was sickened by the burglary.

"They're lovely, honest, decent people and haven't an enemy in the world.

"They are really good neighbours and their neighbours are very good to them," Mr Fitzgerald added.

Gardai described the robbery as "a cowardly attack on a vulnerable couple".

"This is a very upsetting crime which must have been a terrible experience for the couple involved.

"We are throwing the kitchen sink at this and we are determined to trace those responsible," Superintendent Chris Delaney said.

The raiders spoke with Waterford accents and are believed to have had detailed local knowledge.

Gardai have appealed for anyone who may have spotted suspicious behaviour in the Saleen, Ballymacaw or Corballymore areas of Waterford last Monday to contact them at (051) 305300.

Irish Independent

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