A violent criminal on bail for an aggravated burglary is the chief suspect in the armed raid on a disabled pensioner in west Dublin.
Jenny Powell (84) is recovering after an armed gang forced their way into her Mulhuddart home last Friday night. She was beaten and robbed by the men, who armed themselves with a hammer and a saw, before they fled with just €20.
The Herald has learned that gardai have identified an on-the-run Dublin criminal as the chief suspect.
The thug, who is in his late 20s, is currently on bail over a separate break-in at a pensioner's home.
In that disgraceful incident, the same man is alleged to have threatened the woman at gunpoint in her rural home before robbing her. He was arrested and charged over that incident but has since been released on bail.
However, in recent weeks, the man has breached his bail conditions and is now being actively sought by gardai.
The fugitive cannot be identified for legal reasons as he is facing serious charges before the courts.
A source said the thug was also suspected of robbing Ms Powell in a previous incident.
"He is a prime suspect in this investigation," the source said. "He has robbed the same poor woman before and is a suspect in similar targeted robberies on OAPs."
The career criminal once caused a jail security alert after being involved in a tense stand-off with prison officers while he was behind bars.
Detectives at Blanchardstown Garda Station are continuing their investigations into the aggravated burglary at Ms Powell's home but no arrests have yet been made.
Speaking to the Herald this week, the pensioner said the robbers "tossed" her around as they looked for money.
"They were even rummaging under the mattress. All they got was €20," Ms Powell said.
"They were hurting me, and I'll be 85 next month. These people need to be caught. I've been living here for 20 years, it's never happened to me before. I'm not going to let these people drive me out."