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'It was a nightmare' - Man (81) violently assaulted in home during coronavirus crisis

The intruder demanded €20 while beating Michael Manning over the head with a wooden paddle

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Michael Manning (81) is pictured at his home with a wooden boat paddle that was used by his assailant to strike him over the head. Photograph Press 22

Michael Manning (81) is pictured at his home with a wooden boat paddle that was used by his assailant to strike him over the head. Photograph Press 22

Michael Manning (81) is pictured at his home with a wooden boat paddle that was used by his assailant to strike him over the head. Photograph Press 22

A pensioner who was beaten with a wooden boat paddle at his home by a man who demanded “twenty quid” has described the attack as “a nightmare”.

Brave Michael Manning, 81, said he tried to fend off the “animal” who attacked him at his home in Limerick city.

A reliable source said the attacker - who wore a balaclava - was looking for money for drugs.

The attack occurred around 7am at Mr Manning’s home at Lee Estate, Island Road, on April 1.

The assailant fled without getting cash.

Speaking at his home, Mr Manning said: “I was asleep and he kept knocking on the door. I thought there must be something wrong, so I came out of the bed and went out, and he burst in the very minute I opened the door.

“He burst in and his head was all covered, so I couldn't recognise him.

“I was hit over the head with the paddles, it was shocking.”

Mr Manning said: “I was so puzzled, I didn't know what was going on. I was trying to fight him off. It’s a nightmare, so it is.”

A neighbour rang the gardai and an ambulance was called.

“I was in the hospital for ten hours. I got a lot of stitches.

“I’m on my own and I’ve never had anything like this in my life, and I’m 81.

“He must be some animal whoever he is. Some of my neighbours said he lived around here one time and he was living somewhere else after,” he added.

A reliable source said: “There were three people with balaclavas outside the door. One of them ran in and two others stayed outside. They’re all drug addicts.”

“The guy that went in pushed (Mr Manning) back against the door and he crowed him on the head with the paddle.”

“The man is 81 years of age, and he got roughed up.

"Poor old Mick didnt deserve that carry on. He’s a very decent guy; he was an easy target.”

The two males who kept watch while the third man entered the house, are Limerick brothers who are known to gardai, the source said.

Mr Manning said: “When (the attacker) burst in, he was calling out ‘come in’, but I don't remember anyone (else) in the house, except the guards afterwards.

“Jesus, it was too early in the morning, I couldn’t... I was taken unawares, it’s unbelievable. It was totally out of the blue. That hour of the morning I was fast asleep.”

Mr Manning said he has a number of siblings, and his neighbours are always looking in on him.

He said he tried to fight the intruder off.

“I was trying to get him out. I did my best. The way he came in, you couldn't see his face. He was trying to punch me and I was trying to do the same to him,” he said.

“I got a few whacks (from) the boat paddle, he hit me with that.

“I had no grudge against no one. ‘Give me twenty quid’, he said. It’s unbelievable, (all for) twenty pounds...”

Retired councillor and former mayor, John Gilligan, who lives in the estate, condemned the attack, and added: “The whole country is pulling together asking everybody to lock down, especially the elderly, who are the most vulnerable in society.

"And while we are doing that there are some people who take an aged and vulnerable person and viciously attack him at his own doorstep. That goes against the norms of society and its a dreadful thing to happen.

“It has to be condemned, and more than that the gardai are going to have to make sure there is no repetition of this kind of thing.”

Asked if he was trying to stay indoors during the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Manning replied: “I stay indoors a lot now because I’m pushing on.”

However, he said: “I do like a walk around the riverbank. I meant to walk it yesterday morning and I wasn't able.”

Despite hit ordeal, the sprightly octogenarian, added: “I’m not frightened. Whoever he was, he must be an idiot, looking for twenty quid... Jesus, at that hour of the morning, it’s weird. It’s hard to fathom.”

“I remember giving him a couple of belts, but I must not have been (strong) enough.”

Gardai confirmed they were called to an “assault at a house on Lee Estate at 7am in the morning of 1st April, 2020”.

“One man (early 80’s) was assaulted in his home by a man (mid 30s).”

“The injured man was removed to University Hospital Limerick as a precaution as his injuries were not life threatening.”

Gardai said their investigations were “ongoing”.

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