Sunday 19 November 2017

Gardai fear 'murderous' burglars are on the prowl

Bedroom 'like an abbatoir' after woman stabbed in raid on home

Maeve Sheehan and Jim Cusack

Gardai were yesterday increasingly concerned that two murderous house breakers were on the loose after the horrific attack that almost led to the death of 44-year-old ESB lawyer Violet Quigley.

Ms Quigley was described as still critically ill in Beaumont Hospital last evening. Gardai believe her attacker fully intended to kill her, stabbing her repeatedly -- at least eight times -- in the abdomen and chest.

She also suffered wounds to her arms, leg and head.

Ms Quigley managed to pull herself up to the front bedroom window of her home after the attack at midnight on Thursday and scream for help.

Neighbour Claire Downey who went to her assistance, said: "I went out and looked and saw the blood on the window and I said: 'Oh, my God'. I saw Violet hanging out of the window and she was saying: 'Please help me, please help me. Somebody is trying to kill me.'"

Another neighbour who went into the bedroom to assist said it was "like an abattoir". She said: "Violet was saying: 'Why would they do this to me?' She kept repeating, 'Am I going to die, am I dying?'"

Ms Quigley lost a great deal of blood and came very close to death. Her neighbours said that as they attended her, attempting to staunch the flow of blood, she was slipping in and out of consciousness. She was taken to Beaumont Hospital and underwent surgery and, it is understood, required a blood transfusion of more than 25 pints.

Ms Quigley is an outdoors enthusiast, part of a hill-walking club and a keen swimmer and her physical strength and fitness helped her survive.

Gardai have not established any motive for what was clearly an attempted murder. Ms Quigley's house at Donaghmede Park in north Dublin was burgled last Wednesday at around noon. A neighbour noticed a man being let in the front door but presumed Ms Quigley was at home. One of two men had broken the lock on the back door and had let the other in. They stole items of jewellery and a laptop, a typical Dublin burglary often associated with drug addicts. Gardai say there has been a very significant rise in this type of crime in the past year due to a shortage and consequent rise in the price of heroin.

On her return from work on Wednesday Ms Quigley rang her parents, Teresa and Michael, who live a few miles away at Elm Mount Avenue in Beaumont and told them about the burglary. Mrs Quigley asked her daughter to come and stay with them but she declined.

The Garda press office yesterday said there was no description of the men who broke into the house on the Wednesday other than they were in "dark coloured track suits". There was no description of her attacker on Thursday night.

Neighbours told gardai that when they asked her, while trying to keep her conscious, all she knew was that the man wore a mask.

Mrs Quigley said: "We asked Violet if she wanted to stay here with us but she is a very independent woman and said she would be okay."

Ms Quigley joined the ESB as a clerical officer and studied law at night classes and qualified as a solicitor while still in her twenties. She then succeeded in winning a number of internal competitions in the ESB and was a senior legal officer. Colleagues described her as a very well liked, respected colleague.

Gardai yesterday said they had never come across such an incident before and admitted to being baffled as to why the two men -- if it is the same pair, or, if only one -- returned to the scene of a burglary and carried out an attempted murder. Officers have still not ruled out the possibility that the attack was completely unconnected to the burglary. It is unusual, though not unknown for housebreakers to carry out serious attacks such as this.

There was no apparent sexual aspect of the attack. Ms Quigley was stabbed with a long-bladed knife like a carving knife but no weapon was found at the scene.

Gardai appealed to anyone who was in the Donaghmede Park area around lunch time on Wednesday and noticed two men in dark track suits or who was around the same general area on Thursday night or Friday morning and saw a man with bloodstained clothing. They said given the amount of blood loss the attacker must have had extensive blood staining on his clothes.

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