A nine-year-old boy was forced on to the ground and had a knife put to his throat when a ruthless criminal broke into his Dublin home.
The sickening incident took place at a house in Donabate at around 2pm on Sunday when the thug gained entry into the kitchen of the highly-respected family's home.
In a shocking twist it has emerged that a convicted sex offender who is wanted for arrest on other offences is the chief suspect in the case.
The 43-year-old owner of the property was watching TV in a front room of the property with his three young children when he heard a noise in his kitchen.
When he went to investigate, he saw a man who is believed to be aged in his mid 20's, standing over the kitchen sink with a screwdriver in his hand.
The criminal demanded cash from the shocked man who had been enjoying a leisurely afternoon with his children after their mother had left the house on an errand.
The concerned man confronted the raider and demanded that he leave the house but the situation then escalated.
The thug armed himself with a knife from the kitchen and pushed the man back into the room where he had been watching TV with his children and continued to demand cash.
He then grabbed the terrified nine-year-old and forced him on to the ground and pushed a knife against the child's throat as he continued to demand money.
The frightened dad pleaded for the criminal not to harm his children and handed over all the cash he had on him which amounted to less than €70.
The raider then demanded the man's car keys and forced him and his three children outside and locked them in a shed.
The criminal sped from the scene in the man's Citroen car while the shocked dad and his hysterical children remained locked in the shed.
Sources say the dad kicked in the shed door and alerted gardai with a number of units rushing to the scene.
A major investigation was launched by officers from Swords Garda Station and on Sunday night, the man's Citroen car was recovered in the Phibsboro area of the city.
Gardai have identified a chief suspect in the case and last night a manhunt was underway for the criminal who is understood to be a convicted sex offender from Dublin's south inner city.
The heroin addict who is extremely well-known to gardai is described as having short red hair and was wearing a hoodie and a tracksuit when he raided the house in Donabate.
The traumatised family did not wish to comment when approached by the Herald yesterday.
"It was a very traumatic experience. It is very scary when something like that happens and children are involved," a source close to the family said.
When asked how the boy was doing after his horror ordeal, the source added: "He's fine now thankfully".