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Sunday 28 May 2017

Son of farmer (79) recalls horror moment he shot burglar who entered his elderly dad’s home

Richard Lowndes in his Kilsallaghan Co Dublin home alongside his son Graham Lowndes.
Pic Steve Humphreys
8th August 2016
Richard Lowndes in his Kilsallaghan Co Dublin home alongside his son Graham Lowndes. Pic Steve Humphreys 8th August 2016
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

The son of an elderly farmer has relived the horror moment he shot a burglar who entered his 79-year-old father’s home.

Graham Lowndes (51) from Swords, Co Dublin caught Matthew Fahy (38) from Finglas raiding his elderly father’s house in Kilsallaghan, north county Dublin in April 2012.

During a talk on rural crime at the Ploughing Championships, Graham told Irish Independent crime journalist Paul Williams that he knew something was wrong when he entered his father’s home.

“I arrived back at the family home to visit my dad and very soon I realised the house had been burgled and I ran inside. I rang my dad but he wasn’t there and then I rang the gardai,” he said.

“I realised the culprits were still on the scene. I didn’t know where they were but I could see the gun cabinets had been pulled from the wall, so I armed myself too.

“I pursued the culprit and I caught up with him. He threatened to kill me with his car. He was trying to escape. At the time I didn’t know this man had been at the house earlier in the day.”

Richard Lowndes in his Kilsallaghan Co Dublin home alongside his son Graham Lowndes.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Richard Lowndes in his Kilsallaghan Co Dublin home alongside his son Graham Lowndes. Pic Steve Humphreys

Graham said Fahy had been to the house earlier that day saying his van had broken down and entered the house.

“He came to my dad on foot saying his van had broken down and my dad being the gentleman he is made him tea, called a taxi and during the conversation my dad said he wouldn’t be there in the afternoon and then he realised he’ll make an escape and come back in the afternoon when my dad isn’t there.

“I also didn’t realise at the time that our house was the third house he robbed that day.”

Graham said he’s glad his father told the criminal he’d be away later, as he feared what would have happened if his father had stayed.

“My dad is 79-years-old. Knowing that an elderly man was there on his own in the house, it would have been very easy for them to tie him up and threaten him. There’s lots of horror stories about people being beaten to a pulp and threatened with boiling water. I’m glad my dad escaped.”

He said the burglar hopped into a car that was “stupidly” registered in his own name.

“There was a confrontation, there was a shot fired and he escaped.

“I had called the gardai so I knew they were coming so I threatened him to stay where he was and rather than waiting, there was a confrontation and a shot was fired.”

He said when the gardai arrived he told them he had fired a shot but didn’t know if the man was injured.

Later that evening a man with a bullet wound turned up at Drogheda hospital and gardai were notified.

“He had a bullet shot in his arm. He went to Drogheda instead of his local hospital because he didn’t want to be recognised,” said

“He said he got the bullet shot wound when he was out shooting pheasants, in April.”

In a statement Fahy told gardai he had returned to the farm “to thank the old man for his hospitality”.

Fahey, who has 61 convictions for theft, burglary and car theft, was sentenced to six years in prison with four years suspended.

He is now suing Graham Lowndes in a civil case after being treated for having 17 shotgun pellets in his arm.

“I was charged with the reckless discharge of a firearm and for four years I had this hanging over me as to what was going to happen to me,” Graham told Paul Williams.

When the case went to court the DPP and Graham’s legal team reduced it to possession of a firearm without a certificate, which he pleaded guilty to.

“My father is now terrified on the farm. He doesn’t answer the door anymore or he calls me first. Something needs to be done about rural crime.”

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