A WOMAN and her 82-year-old father were brutally assaulted by hammer-wielding burglars who broke into the man's home.
Martina O'Connor (50) was hit across the head with the hammer after she interrupted a break-in at her father's home in Artane, Dublin.
William O'Connor, a retired engineer and father of six, was alone in the house when the burglar and his female accomplice broke in.
Screams from Ms O'Connor – who arrived at the house at lunchtime with Mr O'Connor's wheelchair-bound wife Kitty – raised the alarm and the burglars fled, dropping car keys in the garden as they ran off.
A security guard from a nearby health centre chased the man and he was later arrested by gardai.
The 31-year-old was last night being held for questioning at Coolock garda station.
Gardai were still searching for the woman involved in the break-in.
Mr O'Connor suffered bruising and cuts to his chest, face and head during his ordeal.
Both he and his daughter were released from hospital last night.
Ms O'Connor's partner, Barney Donnelly, told the Irish Independent that it was the second time in less than a year that the elderly couple had suffered a break-in at their home. Nothing was taken.
Mr Donnelly said that Mr O'Connor was "fairly shook up. He's a tough old bloke, but I'd say he's in shock".
A Garda spokesman described the incident as an aggravated burglary and said that cash was demanded from the elderly homeowner before he was assaulted with the hammer.
The spokesman said the suspected male attacker was being held under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
They appealed for witnesses to the incident to call Coolock garda station on 01-6664200 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1-800-666-111.
Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said people must be more vigilant and keep an eye out for their elderly neighbours.
"We need to see neighbours looking after each other, especially for people who are living alone," he told the Irish Independent.
"We need communities to be tighter."