Robbers 'gripped girl's lips with pliers' during terrifying home raid
A family are recovering after being terrorised by two masked men who burst into their home during a horrific Christmas robbery.
A 14-year-old girl's lips were gripped with wire cutters as raiders threatened to "cut them off and pull out her teeth one by one" unless her mother followed their instructions.
She was also forced to walk barefoot through broken glass while her mother and younger brother were locked in an en-suite bathroom.
The mum of three was at home with her daughters, aged 20 and 14, and son (7) at Johnstown Manor in Naas, Co Kildare, when the horrifying events unfolded.
The eldest daughter said the thieves left a trail of destruction in their home and even stole her little brother's pocket money.
"It is just so appalling. At one point my seven-year-old brother had to calm my mother down," she said.
"He had to say to her, 'Please mum, stop or the men will kill you'. He doesn't want to be left alone since then."
The drama unfolded on Wednesday night when the youngsters in the house realised their Wi-Fi connection had failed.
Gardaí believe the thugs who were responsible for the attack cut all the phone lines to the family home - a tactic used when a house has a monitored alarm.
Investigators also believe the house may have been under surveillance by the intruders before the event.
The family runs a local restaurant and their father had just changed and left for work. The men struck shortly aftewards.
Once the men - who were armed with a screwdriver and wire cutters - had gained entry, they stormed towards the mother and grabbed the phone from her hand.
Upon hearing the commotion, the 14-year-old rushed down the stairs to help her mother but was met by one of the masked men, who was dressed in black, on the stairs.
"They just grabbed her," said the eldest daughter.
"My mother was very upset, and they were screaming at her for the money, but she doesn't speak English all that well.
"My sister tried to tell her what they wanted. But they put the pliers to her top lip and gripped it. Then they said they would cut it and pull out her teeth one by one if she didn't give them the money."
The terrified mother then handed over her purse, which contained a few hundred euro.
Unsatisfied by this, they marched the mother and her two youngest children who had been playing in the living room, upstairs.
The shaken family were then taken from bedroom to bedroom while the men pulled the rooms apart looking for cash.
They took €40 from youngest child's piggy bank - money that he had also earmarked for gifts - and his PlayStation.
The family were then led back into the master bedroom where the mother and son were locked into the en-suite toilet.
Meanwhile, the 14-year-old was led through the house by the raiders. The courageous young teen was forced to walk through the broken glass on the kitchen floor so it would be difficult for her to run.
"Her feet were cut really badly; there is blood all over the house. They eventually brought her up to the bathroom and locked her in as well," added her older sister.
"After about 15 minutes they managed to escape and called for help. But they are all still so scared. None of them wants to be left alone."
The children's father appealed for people to be extra vigilant in their homes this Christmas.
"It is just so terrible what has happened. It is important to tell this story to let people know to be careful.
"I always thought this was a safe area to leave women and children in their homes. But now people must know that it is not."
The family's terrifying ordeal came to light as President Michael D Higgins signed into law four new bills, including the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill 2015.
The new legislation provides for stronger sentences for repeat offenders - including the right to refuse bail to burglary defendants who have previous convictions for the same offence.
An estimated 75pc of burglaries are carried out by repeat offenders.