Prolific gang suspects in vile raid on farmer (77)
Gardaí are investigating if a prolific crime gang led by a serial burglar from the midlands was behind an armed raid in which a visually impaired farmer was savagely beaten.
Joseph Waters (77) was sitting at his kitchen table in his rural bungalow in the Kildangan area of Durrow, Co Offaly, when the gang broke in at around 8pm on Monday.
He was struck a number of times on the body, suffering a particularly severe "belt" to his head. Neighbour PJ Gorman said Mr Waters was alone when the attackers climbed through a window they had smashed at the back of the house.
Investigators are probing if a violent burglary gang, which is suspected over more than 20 raids in the last month, was behind the attack on the elderly bachelor.
The ruthless gang members are also chief suspects in the horrific aggravated burglary of farmer Richard McKelvey (54).
He was dragged from his bed and beaten by a gang of four men at his home in Glassderry beg, Brosna, near Birr, Co Offaly, over two months ago.
The gang is led by a serial burglar in his early 20s from Laois and has become a priority for gardaí as they aim to clamp down on the criminals over the festive season.
Shortly after 8pm on Monday, a gang broke into Mr Waters's home before he was pinned to the floor, viciously beaten with sticks and threatened with a knife as three masked men ransacked his home for his life savings.