A man suffered horror hand injuries after he was attacked with a knife while walking to work in Dublin city centre.
The family of Vitor Ortiz Cardoso (24), an Italian-Brazilian living in Dublin since 2015, said he was stabbed in the hand and arm as he tried to defend himself from a group of youths who asked him for a cigarette.
He had been walking to his job at around 10.30pm last Thursday when he was approached in Sean McDermott Street Lower.
Mr Cardoso was walking with his wife when the group approached and the situation grew aggressive.
One youth pushed Mr Cardoso, who pushed him back to defend himself. But another youth came at him with a knife.
A family member said the second youth, who seemed older than the boy who demanded the cigarette, approached Mr Cardoso with a knife in his hand and began delivering blows.
"Vitor then used his hands in front of his body so he would not be hit in vital regions," said the family member.
"He tried to defend himself against what in his head at that moment would end in tragedy.
"In this confrontation he had his left arm cut, his thumb and his left hand that he used the most as a kind of shield to try to defend himself against the blows of the knife."
With his left hand bleeding heavily and his arm also injured, Mr Cardoso lost sight of his wife. She had chased after the gang, who had taken his backpack. They eventually recovered it and went to nearby Store Street Garda Station for help.
An ambulance was called and Mr Cardoso was first taken to the Mater Hospital for treatment. He was later transferred to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.
Gardai have confirmed an investigation has been launched into the attack and CCTV footage is being examined as part of the inquiry.
Mr Cardoso's family and gardai are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.
His family said it could have become a fatality when a knife was used so violently, adding: "It would have destroyed us forever."
He is now being supported by his brother and his wife.
Mr Cardoso's mother said she had already lost one son to a murder.
"I have had one of my sons cowardly murdered here in Brazil. Yes, there are crazy people here, there and everywhere. That incident happened on Mother's Day in 2017," she said.
"I did not give up on humankind then because I cannot be selfish. I have four other children and so many grandchildren left.
"Life will take charge of the boy who took the life of my boy. Let's go to the police until they hear us. Let's go publicly. Let's go after justice, no less."