Pensioner watches in terror as raider sets fire to her home
A DISTRAUGHT pensioner dialled 999 after a raider forced his way into her home and then set it on fire.
The woman, who is in her late 70s, had to watch as the thug started the blaze and then made his getaway.
Gardai are trying to establish if anything was stolen during what was described by officers as a "bizarre" incident.
The victim was on her way back to her house in Raglan Road, Ballsbridge, south Dublin, when she was attacked.
Gardai said she had left the house on an errand nearby and was at her front door when the raider grabbed her and pushed her inside.
The man, said to be in his 20s and with a Dublin accent, threatened the woman with a weapon as he demanded money, but did not assault her.
He then ransacked the house as he searched for cash and other valuables.
The woman was apparently too terrified to move as her attacker then set the house on fire before fleeing.
The distressed victim managed to phone the emergency services as she made her way to safety.
She was later taken to hospital suffering from shock, but was not physically harmed.
Gardai said the woman had been left severely traumatised following her ordeal, and was unable to tell them if anything had been taken from the house in the incident which occurred shortly before 11am yesterday.
Four engines from Dublin Fire Brigade dealt with the blaze, but several rooms in the two-storey house were gutted while others were badly damaged.
The raider was not masked, and gardai were waiting last night to carry out a more detailed interview with the victim before publishing a full description of him.
The woman lives in the property with members of her family, but was alone when the raider struck.
A garda said: "This is a totally bizarre crime. There is no doubt the man was attempting to rob the place, but it's not clear if he was successful and we don't know yet why he decided to set the house on fire."
Gardai want anyone who was in Raglan Road between 10.30am and 11.30am yesterday and saw a man acting suspiciously to contact them on 01 666 9200 or 1800 666111.