Man (93) is beaten with his walking stick during burglary
A 93-YEAR-old man was beaten with his own walking stick by a four-man gang who attacked him in his rural home and demanded money.
The incident, which lasted an hour, happened in the Balrath area of Co Meath at 8.15pm on Wednesday.
Johnny Carroll was at home in his farmhouse with his son Noel when the men burst into the house.
His other son Derek then arrived home and walked into the house and was immediately tackled by the gang.
Derek told the Irish Independent how the burglary unfolded: "When I arrived home at around 8.15pm I noticed that the security light in the driveway didn't work and I thought the bulb must have blown, but I found out afterwards that the gang had smashed the light so the house would be in darkness," he said.
"When I walked in, one of them grabbed me and moved me into a room with my father and brother. They had turned off all the lights and were shining torches in our faces. We couldn't see them.
"They had got one of my father's walking sticks and beat him across the hands with it, and roughed himself and my brother up.
"They took our mobile phones and searched us for money, and they were searching the house for cash. They broke into my brother's jeep as well," Derek said.
"In the end they got about €300 from my father and about €80 from my brother, and they even took the little box of change my father uses to pay the milkman," he said.
"Then they forced us into a bedroom and locked us in and left. I didn't see any cars here when I arrived so I don't know how they left or where they went.
"I eventually got out the window and came around the front and released my brother and father and rang the gardaí on the house phone."
Derek said his father was shook up since the robbery and they feared it would have a lasting effect on him.
Although he is an elderly man, Johnny still drives to Mass and to the shops and is quite independent. He has lived in Balrath all his life.
The Garda helicopter was used in the search for the culprits last night but no arrests have been made.
The gang members were said to have spoken with rural Irish accents.
Gardaí say the four-man gang were described as being about 6ft tall, wearing dark clothing and peaked caps, with scarves covering their faces.
The tight-knit community of Balrath has rallied around the Carroll family since the terrible ordeal, and neighbours and friends, many of them elderly, yesterday made their way to the rural farmhouse to check on Johnny and his sons.
Gardaí say the investigation into the aggravated burglary is ongoing.