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Mum battered with hammer as son (3) slept

A MUM was fighting for her life today after she was battered with a hammer while she slept.

Her three-year-old son was in the next room and may have found his badly beaten mother after the attack.

Joanna Benko (32), from Ladyswell Road in Mulhuddart, was savagely attacked in her bed after celebrating her birthday. She remained in a critical condition in Beaumont hospital.

Now locals fear that her three-yearson may have found his mother after the savage attack.

Neighbours told how they heard the little boy crying throughout the night.

Thomas Murphy described the Polish woman, who moved to the area three years ago, as “very friendly”.

“God I hope she pulls through,” he told the Herald today.

Gardai were continuing to question a 39-year-old man in relation to the attack.

They recognised her as a woman who "always smiled and waved" and who had become a part of the community.

Other locals described the injured woman, who was originally from Poland and who has been living here for several years, as a "lovely lady".

Thomas Byrne, who lives a few doors away, described her a "very friendly".

"God I hope she pulls through. It's a terrible thing altogether. She'd send us Christmas cards and sweets for the kids at Halloween," he said.

Another neighbour told the Herald that Ms Benko and her partner were "a lovely couple".

Witnesses on the scene shortly after gardai arrived reported seeing birthday cards, flowers and a cake in the house.

Gardai were trying to establish what led to the assault and were continuing to question a 39-year-old man.

Officers rushed to the house on Ladyswell Road in Mulhuddart, Co Dublin, after the man walked into Blanchardstown Garda Station, around three kilometres away.

He told gardai that Ms Benko had serious injuries and was possibly dead after an early morning attack. Officers found her unconscious with head wounds.

They believe she was asleep when her attacker came into the room armed with a hammer.

She had no opportunity to defend herself and may not even have been fully aware of what was happening.

Paramedics were on the scene quickly but Ms Benko had suffered serious blood loss.



ASSAULT

It is not clear at what time the assault took place but it is thought to have been early yesterday morning.

Ms Benko was rushed to the nearby Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown but was later transferred to Beaumont Hospital, which specialises in treating head injuries.

Today she was described as being in a critical but stable condition.

Another man and woman were staying in the house at the time but were asleep and unaware of the incident until gardai broke down the front door. The Herald understands that the couple were only visiting for a few weeks and decided to move out overnight.

Gardai were continuing to question a 39-year-old drainage contractor about the attack today. He is being held at Blanchardstown Garda Station but it is expected that he will either be charged or released this evening.

Officers say that their investigations are continuing but they are not looking for anybody else in connection with the case.

The house remained sealed off this morning and a garda was positioned outside the door.

A forensic team spent a considerable time at the house yesterday and removed several items in evidence bags.

hnews@herald.ie


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