Pensioner fights for life after mugging in her street
AN elderly woman was critically ill in hospital last night after she was savagely mugged on her way home from the bank.
The 86-year-old victim, who walks with the aid of a crutch, was knocked to the ground by the attacker, who then snatched her purse containing €200 in cash.
Shortly after the attack, gardai detained a 35-year-old Polish man and recovered the money.
A major garda investigation was under way last night after the condition of the victim deteriorated.
The victim was named last night as Mary Nolan, who lived close to the scene of the attack at College View.
Ms Nolan lives alone at College View, a cul de sac off Walkin Street, in the centre of Kilkenny city.
On Tuesday morning she attended Mass in a city centre church before visiting her bank, the Market Cross branch of Allied Irish Banks.
Gardai believe her attacker either spotted her inside the bank or leaving the premises.
He followed Ms Nolan as she walked home alone between 11am and 11.30am before attacking her as she approached her home.
She courageously struggled to hold on to her handbag but the attacker struck her and pushed her to the ground, where she hit her head.
A passer-by attempted to intervene, according to gardai, but the raider escaped.
A detailed description of the attacker was quickly circulated to all garda patrols and shortly afterwards gardai made the arrest and recovered Ms Nolan's cash and belongings.
The suspect is understood to have been living in a hostel in the city but in recent weeks had been living rough, according to locals.
He was taken to Kilkenny garda station for questioning under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allowed gardai to hold him without charge for up to 24 hours excluding rest periods.
The victim appeared to be shaken but without serious injury after the attack and received medical treatment at the scene of the assault.
However, gardai who remained with her noticed that her medical condition deteriorating rapidly and an ambulance was called.
She is now been cared for at St Luke's hospital, where her condition was last night described as "critical".
Neighbours last night spoke of their shock and described Ms Nolan as a very nice woman who kept herself to herself.
One neighbour said: "We can't believe it'd happen in broad daylight. Whoever did it is a coward."
Gardai were last night conducting house to house inquiries in the estates surrounding Mrs Nolan's home.
Gardai last night appealed to anybody, who was in the College View, Walkin Street, Friary Street or High Street areas of the city between 10am and 11.30am on Tuesday to contact them.
An incident room has been set up at Kilkenny station and investigators can be contacted there at 056 7775000, or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.