Thursday 22 March 2018

'Three guys jumped us - all you could see was their eyes'

Frank and Mary Duane at their fuel station
Frank and Mary Duane at their fuel station

Caroline Whelan

Frank and Mary Duane's lives changed forever when they were subjected to a violent attack at their home.

A lifetime of hard graft resulted in a successful shop, post office, filling station and hardware business, which is now operated by their two sons, Anthony and Seán, at Kiltullagh, Co Galway.

But in February last year, three heavily armed raiders burst in upon the elderly couple and subjected them to an extremely violent attack.

"Three guys in balaclavas jumped on us. All you could see was their eyes," says Mr Duane. "They had a double-barrelled gun, sledges, crowbars, slash hooks and were roaring and shouting, looking for my gun.

"One of them was jumping around the kitchen, swinging a hammer. They were there for an hour in total."

His wife added: "They were very violent and abusive. It was hard to even tell where they were from, they kept putting on different accents."

Anthony Duane bravely tried to challenge the raiders but was outnumbered. The thugs pushed Mary and Frank into the sitting room and gave their son a severe beating, using a nailbar and a hammer.

The raiders made away with a sum of cash, but the couple have been forced to spend €40,000 upping security in the business, in their home and their two sons' homes.

The Duanes are sadly resigned to the possibility of a return visit.

"It has totally changed things, we have a number of cameras in the house now, which is not ideal but that is the way it has to be. We have a monitor so we can keep an eye on the front door and I would not be comfortable without it. All doors and windows are constantly locked and we have a number of panic buttons as well."

Mrs Duane says: "When I would get to sleep, I was constantly seeing balaclavas."

She believes the gardaí are as vulnerable as anybody else, as they have no weapons. she added: "I think the Army is needed to deal with these people."

The couple's daughter-in-law Laura, who is married to Anthony, added: "All our lives have changed because of what has happened.

"They didn't deserve this. Nobody does."

Irish Independent

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