Vicious attack by trespasser 'is going to bug me for life'
A Limerick farmer was left in a pool of blood after he was viciously assaulted by a trespasser, in the latest shocking incident of rural crime in the county.
Tom O'Donnell, 60, was moving his cows across a public road on the outskirts of Kilmallock when he was punched and knocked unconscious.
He is now contemplating having an iron bar beside his bed and in the boot of the car for future protection.
The single dairy farmer told the Limerick Leader: "Crime is rampant. The minority are intimidating the majority. Every time a farmer walks out into the yard we are looking over our shoulders.
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"These people are going on our land with their lurchers and massive torches shining in every direction to lamp hares, rabbits, foxes and even cats. We give a shout and they only laugh at us."
At 7.30pm on Tuesday, October 22, Tom (pictured) was feeding silage to a bull in a shed.
"I saw a light in the field, at first I thought it was lightning. There was a time when I would have sprinted out but I am conscious of my age and of getting a heart attack. I jogged over. I saw a figure in the moonlight and heard a dog. He was about 90 feet away.
"I shouted, 'You piece of s**t, keep running you rotten f***er'. He was moving lively. I went back as I had to move the cows from one field to another across the public road."
Tom then drove his car down the road.
"He was standing at the gate with his dog. I had a headlamp on. I said to him, 'You were on my land'. He said, 'Prove it'. I said, 'I saw you in my field you piece of s**t'. He said, 'Prove it'. Everything was 'Prove it'.
"We were in the middle of the road. He came in closer to me. He pushed a big torch into my face and I brushed it away twice with the back of my hand. I wasn't aggressive - I didn't slap it to the ground. I should have."
He remembers the assailant had the torch and lead for the dog in his left hand, leaving his right hand free.
"We were exchanging 'compliments' and the next thing I woke up on the ground in the middle of the road in a pool of blood," he said. "I thought, what am I doing here? How did I get on the ground?
"It happened so fast I can't remember the punch. I don't know how many seconds I was unconscious for. I saw him jogging about 20 feet away. He left me on the road. If a car came I was a goner," said Tom.
"I got up in a rush in case a car would come. I was pumping blood from my nose," said Tom.
In the dark, he didn't see what the trespasser was wearing but describes him as "a short, fit-looking young man with short brown/blond hair".
Despite the shock he still moved his cows across the road before sitting into his car.
He rang his friend Jimmy, who contacted gardai and other friends and neighbours, one of whom is a nurse. They all arrived within minutes. When they came, Tom said he could barely talk.
"I was in bits. I had been humiliated by a small guy. My pride was hurt. I was in shock," he said.
Tom was taken to Shannondoc before arriving at UHL at 11pm. He was there until 7am and was back again that afternoon for an X-ray. His nose was broken but the cheekbone was not fractured. He also has a black eye and a gash on his nose.
He says the assault has not left any mental scars, but vowed to take steps to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
"I would be robust. I read about other victims of crime who can't sleep with the fear, but I can sleep.
"I'm contemplating having an iron bar beside my bed and in the boot of the car for future protection.
"This is going to bug me for the rest of my life. Every time I come out into my yard day or night - and especially at night as I live beside the town - I am going to be looking over my shoulder. If I hear a noise at night I am going to cock my ear even though it could just be a cat."
Guards from Bruff were at the scene in minutes and have launched an investigation, but Tom says there is a lack of resources in the district, and insists that more foot patrols are needed.
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