Tuesday 17 September 2019

'There's a lot of anger in the area' - arrested man flees his home after serious attack on great-granddad

Paddy Hansard
Paddy Hansard
Support: Locals attend a candle light vigil for Paddy Hansard who was seriously injured following an attack. Photo: Arthur Carron
Injuries: Paddy Hansard is described by neighbours as a quiet and well respected family man
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A man arrested for questioning after a serious assault on a great-grandfather in a city flat complex is believed to have left his nearby address after locals began banging on his door following his release from Garda custody.

Locals said the man, who is in his 50s, had returned home to Courtney Place in Ballybough on Sunday evening after being released by gardaí.

But he now appears to be keeping a low profile after others started banging on his door on Sunday night close to where the attack on 75-year-old Paddy Hansard took place, according to locals.

"There's a lot of anger in the area. I'd say this man is just lying low somewhere else for a while until the dust settles a bit," said a source.

"Paddy is well respected in the area and feelings are running high after what happened," they added.

Mr Hansard remains in a critical condition in Intensive Care in the Mater Hospital where specialist medics are controlling three bleeds on his brain after he was attacked with what gardaí believe was a shovel.

He also suffered spinal injuries in the attack and it is not known if this will leave him with long-term health consequences.

Gardaí believe the attack was an escalation of a previous interaction between Mr Hansard and a man living in the area.

"There have been complaints to the council about noise and parties, and it seems Paddy was having words with the man about noise levels when things escalated," said a local source.

The attack took place at around 2.30am on Saturday at the flat complex situated in Ballybough just off Spring Garden Street.

It is understood Mr Hansard had been drinking in the nearby Clonliffe House pub earlier in the night and was heading back toward his flat when he was attacked in the stairwell just yards from his front door on the first floor.

Mr Hansard was a scaffolder in the building trade until his retirement and he has been described by his friends and relatives as a "quiet man".

The man in his 50s was arrested on Saturday and was questioned for a time in Mountjoy.

He was released without charge and a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Local councillor Nial Ring said Paddy, who is a relative of musician Glen Hansard, is one of 16 children and his family roots are in Ballybough.

"They are all well known and respected in the area," he said.

It is believed he was on his way home from socialising with neighbours and friends when he was struck.

Local sources said gardaí later removed a number of items from the scene, including bloodstained clothing, a shovel, and a mask.

Irish Independent

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