Friday 20 April 2018

'The men ran out of the house in broad daylight' - Elderly man dies from heart attack after he disturbs burglars

The scene in Toomaline, Co Limerick where John O'Donoghue's body was found following a suspected burglary
The scene in Toomaline, Co Limerick where John O'Donoghue's body was found following a suspected burglary
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

An elderly man suffered a massive heart attack and died after discovering two intruders fleeing his home.

John O'Donoghue (62) returned to his house in Toomaline, Co Limerick, shortly before 2pm and discovered burglars who had spent "many hours" ransacking the dwelling.

The shock of the incident induced heart failure and he fell to the ground in front of his traumatised sister.

The siblings, who were said to be "inseparable", had lived together in their modest home for a number of years.

The sister is a retired nurse and she immediately tried to revive her brother.

But he remained unresponsive and died just yards from his front door.

"He was returning to his home when the men ran out of the house in broad daylight. That brought on the heart attack," said a source close to the incident.

"Paramedics and neighbours were at the scene within minutes but he died on the spot.

"It is understood that there was a person in a car opposite the house acting as the getaway driver."

Local parish priest Fr Tony Ryan said the siblings had spent the morning shopping in the village of Doon, where they had purchased items for a "project" that they were working on together.

"He was quiet and inoffensive and generally kept to himself," said Fr Ryan.

"We're devastated that such a thing should happen to such a good man.

"The brother and sister had just returned from town, having made some purchases.

"His sister said the two men ran out, having rampaged through the house," the priest told the Irish Independent.

"They had been there for some time. I don't think very much was taken. He was a self-employed carpenter."

Two men have been arrested in connection with the break-in. They are being questioned at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick.

Meanwhile, an unprecedented assault on a man in his late 90s has provoked fury in a local community.

The widower was attacked and robbed, having gone for a walk in a public park near his home. The attack has left him injured and seriously traumatised

And now gardaí in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, have issued an urgent appeal for any relevant information.


Shortly before 9pm on Monday an unidentified male, in his late 20s or early 30s, approached the elderly man from behind, and assaulted him knocking him to the ground.

He took the man's umbrella from him and struck him with it a number of times, demanding money.

The assailant eventually secured a small amount of cash from his victim before making his getaway.

It is understood that gardaí are following a definite line of inquiry and are currently studying CCTV footage from anti-crime cameras placed around Castlerea town.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News