Wednesday 12 December 2018

Hero Denis (84) who fought off raiders 'doesn't want any fuss'

Have-a-go hero: Denis O’Connor and shop manager Tim Murphy at the Bar One betting shop in Hazelwood Shopping Centre, Glanmire, Co Cork. Photo: John Delea
Have-a-go hero: Denis O’Connor and shop manager Tim Murphy at the Bar One betting shop in Hazelwood Shopping Centre, Glanmire, Co Cork. Photo: John Delea

Ralph Riegel

A great-grandfather who helped foil an armed robbery at his favourite bookmakers shop admitted he cannot understand all the tributes over his actions.

Denis O'Connor (84) modestly insisted he wasn't a hero over his courageous actions last Saturday evening and refused all media interviews yesterday, including requests to appear on both RTÉ and Virgin Media.

He now just wants to be able to return to the bookmakers shop for "a flutter" without any fuss.

Mr O'Connor, who turns 85 in November, was instrumental in helping foil an armed raid by three masked robbers, two armed with hammers and one armed with a suspected imitation shotgun, on the Bar One bookmakers branch in Glanmire, Co Cork.

The raiders ran into the branch at 6.30pm on Saturday and demanded cash - with two of the raiders threatening the sole staff member on duty, Tim Murphy.

Mr O'Connor reacted to being threatened by one of the raiders and his action in shoving the man triggered panic, which resulted in all three robbers fleeing the scene.

Mr Murphy said the actions of Mr O'Connor were incredibly brave.

"It was unbelievable what Denis did - there is no doubt about it, he is a genuine hero," said the shop manager.

But the great-grandfather was modest about his actions.

"I thought it was all a joke at the start," he said.

But when he saw two of the raiders aggressively confronting Mr Murphy, he immediately realised a full-blown robbery was in progress.

"I didn't really think about it - I just went for it. You can either sit down and do nothing or take a stand. I decided to stand up to these people," he said.

Mr O'Connor's bravery immediately panicked one raider and distracted a second. The third was then confronted by Mr Murphy. All three fled the premises and made their escape in a waiting black car.

CCTV security camera footage of the raid went viral on social media when people realised a great-grandfather was successfully taking on raiders more than 60 years younger than him.

A key segment of the CCTV footage showed one of the raiders stumbling in panic as he fled - and Denis directing a firm kick at the departing robber's backside. "I keep fit. I go to the gym and a do a bit of swimming. I suppose you could say I am fit," he said.

Gardaí have vowed to hunt down the three raiders.

Irish Independent

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