A MAN suffered a bleed on his brain in a vicious attack while his son escaped with his life after thugs swung a hatchet into his back.
Altar wine was found at the scene of the assault in Borris, Co Carlow -- prompting detectives to believe that a gang behind a spate of church robberies is to blame for the incident.
John Dwyer (47) and his son Seamus (24) were terrorised by four men on Main Street in Borris in the early hours of Saturday morning. On the same night, two churches and a school in the locality were targeted by robbers.
John Dwyer yesterday discharged himself from St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny. He is recovering from a bleed on his brain and suffered a fracture to his skull, as well as cuts and bruises.
His son Seamus was left scarred after an axe and a hatchet were swung at his back and elbow.
John Dwyer has been interviewed by gardai but he cannot recall details of the attack as he suffered concussion.
Seamus said the men drove a car at his father and exited the vehicle before beating him with a hurl. They eventually drove off when friends of the victims arrived and contacted gardai.
The incident started when Seamus was walking down the street to speak to a young woman who had been targeted by the gang.
Seamus went to the scene and a dispute erupted between him and the men inside the car.
His father John arrived and calmed matters down. The men drove off but shortly afterwards returned and mounted the kerb.
They then burst open the car doors and ran at John and Seamus with an axe, a hatchet, a rubber mallet and a hurl.
Gardai in Thomastown are appealing to anyone who may have seen a car driving at speed in the Borris or St Mullins area after 12.30am on Saturday to contact them.
Officers are probing whether the gang was also responsible for robbing churches at Glynn and Drummond in the St Mullins parish. They follow four recent church robberies in the New Ross area.