Wednesday 21 February 2018

Two pensioner brothers attacked by thugs at home

Tom Brady, John Fallon and Declan Rooney

Two elderly brothers were tied up for more than seven hours after thugs attacked them and ransacked their home.

The victims, Michael (82) and Owen (80) Kelly, were physically assaulted by the attackers as they searched their farmhouse for cash.

The pensioners were then tied up as the intruders made off with a small amount of cash.

The bachelor brothers finally managed to free themselves seven-and-a-half hours after their ordeal had begun.

Two men, wearing balaclavas and armed with a shotgun and a knife, forced their way into the house, located on a remote laneway in Ballyroe, near Williamstown, Co Galway, around 11pm on Thursday night.

The intruders demanded to know where the brothers had hidden their savings.

However, the Kellys said they did not have much money in the house -- but the thugs still ransacked the rooms before making their escape at around 2.30am yesterday.

The victims remained tied up for a further four hours before they managed to struggle free and alert the gardai.

Gardai said last night that their injuries were minor but that the brothers had been traumatised by the horrific experience and were being comforted by neighbours.

Robbery

Gardai appealed to anybody, who had seen a number of men acting suspiciously around the time of the robbery or during the previous couple of days to contact them at Tuam garda station on 093 70840 or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.

One of the robbers is described as of medium build and about 5ft 5in tall. He was wearing dark clothes and runners. The second man is said to be taller, also of medium build and dressed in dark clothes and runners.

The attack has shocked the local community and Ballyroe parish priest Fr Joe Poole said people were very upset by what had happened to the two elderly brothers.

"It's a very sad day when someone breaks into the home of two old men, who have worked all their lives," he added.

Neighbour Leo Finnegan said locals were outraged by the vicious attack on two vulnerable men.

"This is a quiet, rural place and we are not used to incidents of this type," he said.

And last night Fr Francis McGrath, of Williamstown parish, warned locals to keep a close watch for any unusual activity in the community.

He said a similar incident had taken place recently in Ballygar and two weeks ago they held a meeting in the parish to set up a community alert programme for the locality.

Fr McGrath called on locals to take note of the registration numbers of cars that were not from the area.

Labour senator Lorraine Higgins said the robbery offended everybody by targeting one of the most vulnerable groups in society.

Irish Independent

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