Monday 10 December 2018

'They came out of nowhere' - woman (88) left bruised after terrifying ordeal at hands of armed burglars

Cowardly raiders steal pension cash after screwdriver threat

Gardai in Balbriggan are investigating
Gardai in Balbriggan are investigating

Alan O'Keeffe

An 88-year-old woman has spoken of her terrifying ordeal after two callous burglars broke into her rural home, threatened her and stole her pension money.

The elderly woman, who lives in a remote area of Co Offaly, told the Irish Independent she was alone when two men entered her home through a window under cover of darkness and grabbed her.

The pensioner is the latest elderly victim of burglary gangs in the midlands, following a number of violent break-ins.

Earlier this week, visually impaired farmer Joseph Waters (77) was hospitalised after three masked men broke into his home in the Kildangan area of Durrow.

The callous raiders beat the farmers with sticks and searched the house for cash.

In the latest violent incident, the two men entered the isolated property shortly after 6pm on Wednesday after the victim's middle-aged son had left the house to go shopping.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, lives with her son.

"I was very frightened," said the woman, who suffered bad bruising to her wrist during her ordeal.

"They came out of nowhere. The front door and the back door were both locked. They got in through a window.

"A man in a white cap had a screwdriver in his hand and he caught a hold of my wrist. I was very frightened. They broke the door of my wardrobe.

"I said I wanted to go and get a drink of water but he wouldn't let me go," she added.

The men rifled through a number of envelopes which contained a small amount of cash from her pension, she said.

They then fled, leaving her deeply shocked and upset.

The woman's son returned home shortly after to find his mother distressed, frightened and with a bruise on her wrist.

"I could not sleep that well after it happened," she said.

Her son said his mother had "worked hard all her life" and he condemned the attackers for their crime.

A local farmer said last night that everyone in the rural community was deeply upset and angry at the attack on the defenceless woman.

The 47-year-old man said: "It's dreadful what happened.

"She's a very quiet woman. People are very angry. There are a lot of elderly people living in this area and they are all terrified by what happened.

"There should be CCTV cameras put on rural roads to help catch whoever does these crimes.

Ransacked

"Only a few weeks ago, the house of a man in his seventies was ransacked while he was in hospital with cancer.

"They destroyed the place. It was only a couple of miles away."

The man's wife said that an attack like that left everyone in the community concerned for the vulnerable.

She said: "It's very unnerving what has happened to that elderly lady.

"She lives in a place that is so remote, it is like the last place that God made.

"It's terrible what has happened."

A 68-year-old local woman added: "Whoever did this deserves 10 years' hard labour on bread and water.

"That lady is a very quiet little woman who just goes to weekly Mass. She never did anything to anybody.

"The people are raging about what has happened."

In a nearby village, a 51-year-old woman said the area was extremely quiet and the news of the burglary had caused "a lot of upset".

Last night, a local doctor visited the woman and her son at their home.

Gardaí made house-to-house inquiries yesterday throughout the rural area, asking if anyone had seen anything suspicious in the locality in the course of Wednesday night.

A community alert text was flashed to residents living throughout the area.

The latest raid comes as gardaí continue to probe the shocking attack on vulnerable Joseph Waters on Monday in nearby Durrow.

Detectives are probing whether a prolific burglary gang based in the area may have been behind the incident.

Irish Independent

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