A terrified grandmother has told of how an intruder savagely attacked her in her home, breaking both her arms and leaving her with head injuries.
Doreen O'Shea (50) is recovering after being beaten around the head with a stick by a man who then calmly stepped over her and walked out her front door.
Doreen said she is now scared to leave the house where she lives with her pet terrier, Charlie.
The horrific incident unfolded in the early hours of July 8 as she watched television in her home in Ashford, Co Wicklow.
"It was around 1.15am and little Charlie started to bark and growl, which is unusual. So I went from the living room to the kitchen, and when I got there I saw a man just standing there looking at me," said Doreen.
"I just about got to say the word: 'What' when he started beating me around the head and arms with some sort of a stick.
"And then he just kept beating and beating me."
Doreen told the Herald she didn't know what to think, but tried to take cover under the stairs so her attacker would not be able to swing at her.
"But he kept coming at me and hitting me, over and over and over," she said.
"Then he hit Charlie and I heard him whimper. When he hit him again Charlie dropped to the floor."
Doreen said she thought she was going to be killed. "When Charlie dropped I thought 'He's dead, and now I'm going to die'."
"I couldn't see any more because there was blood streaming into my eyes, and I just thought if I played dead the beating might stop, because when Charlie dropped this guy stopped beating him.
"I decided to just drop. I let my arms flop to the ground. I stopped protecting myself. I lay there, closed my eyes, and waited for the end," said Doreen.
A final blow did not come, and Doreen said her actions seemed to fool her attacker into thinking she was dead.
"I sensed him step over me, and then I heard him casually walk down the hall and go out my front door, closing it after him with a quiet click," she said.
"I didn't move because I wasn't sure if there was someone else in the house, but then I felt Charlie lick my hand and I had an idea I was safe."
Doreen rang the emergency services after struggling to her phone. She had to push herself up off the floor with her broken arms, one of which had the bone sticking out through her skin.
"The gardai were here within nine minutes, and the ambulance was just 15 seconds behind them," she said.
Doreen was left with two broken arms, and has had surgery to place steel pins in one fracture.
She also had multiple lacerations to her head.
"The doctors said I was hit between 14 and 18 times and there were wood splinters in my wounds," said Doreen.
"I had 13 staples in my head and my ear was severed and had to be sewn back in place," she added.
Gardai said they were investigating the case.
Doreen said she cannot understand why the intruder left her phone, purse and computer behind and took nothing from the house.
"I'm absolutely terrified now and won't leave the house on my own. I urge people to keep an eye on their neighbours in rural areas," she added.
"Little Charlie is OK, thank God. He is recovering. To be honest, I feel he saved my life. If I was alone I wouldn't have known there was an intruder there," said Doreen.
"I just want the gardai to catch whoever did this."