Saturday 14 December 2019

Gardai struggle to find cruel thieves who beat woman (96)

Stephen Maguire

GARDAI have no firm leads in their search for heartless thieves who punched a 96-year-old woman.

A garda source said last night that while officers are following a number of lines of inquiry, they have yet to identify clear suspects.

The cruel attackers made off with a "substantial" amount of money, which the victim was saving to have new windows put in her home.

Frail pensioner Margaret 'Greta' Lilly is recovering at Letterkenny General Hospital in Co Donegal after being gagged then punched by her attacker.

Thieves broke into her home at Aghilly, Buncrana, in the early hours of Saturday. A man, wearing a balaclava, punched Ms Lilly in the ribs before stealing her handbag.

The terrified pensioner, who lives alone, managed to raise the alarm at 12.30am.

Sources revealed the thugs managed to get away with a "four-figure sum", which Ms Lilly had been saving for new aluminum windows.

"Greta is very house proud and she was so looking forward to having her old windows replaced. Her house is spotless and she had been planning for ages to get the new windows in. I doubt if she'll be able to get them now," said a source.

Ms Lilly remained in hospital yesterday where she is described as being in "good form" despite the ordeal.

It is understood that her injuries are not serious, but have left her "shook up".

Ms Lilly does not have relatives living locally but gets daily home-help visits from the HSE.

TD Padraig MacLochlainn (SF), who lives 100 yards from the victim, said the community would look after Ms Lilly.

"There is a great community spirit in Buncrana and we will make sure she is looked after when she gets out of hospital.

Another Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue, partially blamed the dismantling of garda resources for the attack.

"The recent spate of burglaries in Donegal and across the north-west region is causing real anxiety and fear for many people, particularly those living alone," he said.

Gardai have been conducting door-to-door enquiries since Saturday's raid. It is understood the men spoke with local accents. Gardai appealed for anybody who may have noticed activity near Ms Lilly's house on Friday or Saturday to contact them.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News