Thursday 18 October 2018

'I couldn't stand the pain' - manhunt underway following violent burglary at pensioner's home

Stock photo
Stock photo

Ken Foy and Ryan Nugent

TWO men mugged and assaulted a pensioner in an aggravated burglary at his home.

The callous thieves even stole the victim’s glasses and prescriptions in a sickening attack.

The Dublin man, aged in his 80s, told Independent.ie he “didn’t sleep a wink” the night of the attack last week and is still shaken from the ordeal.

Gardai in Santry have launched an investigation but no arrests have been made and no suspects identified.

The burglary took place in Drumcondra shortly before 7pm on Friday with the man - who did not want to be identified - attacked as he came home from the chemist.

Speaking at his home yesterday, he described how he arrived to his front door, noticing the window panel had been smashed, before being grabbed by the neck and brought to the ground by a man wearing a balaclava and gloves.

“It was quarter to seven when I came home and it was dark. I got a taxi home because I wasn’t feeling too well anyway,” he said.

“I came up the driveway and I noticed the glass door and said to myself the house had been broken into.

“Next minute, there was an arm around my neck and another fella had a heavy blunt instrument, and he said ‘give me your f*****g wallet.’

“I was put on the ground and he kept at me. He pressed in there (chest) and then moved across the lungs,” he said.

While this was going on the other burglar proceeded to check all of the pensioner’s pockets for money. He found a mobile phone and a watch.

“I couldn’t stand the pain. Eventually I gave in and I had €270 or €280. He said ‘you’ve more.’

“I’d say I was 10 minutes on the ground before I gave in.”

One of the thugs continued to demand more money - but the second man convinced him it was time to leave.

The pensioner said they both spoke with Dublin accents.

“I probably should have given them the money first, but they demanded more money. Then the other fella said we have enough, let’s go,” he said.

When the man made it into his home, he noticed the sitting room, kitchen and his bedroom were ransacked before he’d arrived back from the pharmacy.

“They got another mobile phone, it was expensive for me - €200 - and they got a gold ring and a watch, but it was so old you’d be lucky to get a fiver for it,” he said.

Gardai arrived within 10 minutes and took a statement.

“Of course when I went to bed that night, I didn’t sleep a wink.

“It wasn’t the whole house, it was only the bedroom, this place here (the kitchen), the sitting room and they didn’t touch the front room,” he said.

The victim said he still feels pain in the chest area, from what he describes as something resembling an iron bar pressed against him.

However, he doesn’t think there is anything broken and did not go to the hospital for treatment.

Local sources said many elderly people living in the estates close to where the savage attack happened are living in fear.

“We don’t think that these type of things would have happened when Whitehall Garda Station was open – in those days there was a visible police presence in the area but that is long gone,” a local said.

Whitehall Garda Station has been closed for nearly six years .

The area where the burglary occurred is policed by officers from Santry which does not have a full time station and is under Ballymun.

Phone calls to it by the Herald went unanswered yesterday.

“The reality is that Ballymun Garda Station polices this area but even though they are less than three kilometres away, it seems like the other end of the world to the settled elderly residents of this community.

“These are very vulnerable people.

“Since Whitehall Garda Station closed down, you would rarely ever see any gardai on the beat or even on the patrol around here.

“This needs to change and it needs to change now,” the local source added.

Local TD, Noel Rock said there is huge concern over urban robberies becoming more violent.

“People are not only worried about the burglaries now, but also about the violence,” Mr Rock said.

The TD said while it would be difficult to reopen Whitehall Garda Station - due to its use as the city morgue - there is enough room in the building for a garda presence.

“It’d make sense for some sort of garda desk and some form of permanent garda presence, which is what I’m trying to negotiate.”

Mr Rock added that sentencing for burglars, particularly repeat offenders, was too lenient.

Herald

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