A DUBLIN priest who was the victim of armed raiders overheard a chilling order to a machine-gun wielding gunman to "put one in his leg".
As the gang of thugs began to worry the burglary was taking too long, one the raiders told the gunman to shoot Cabinteely parish priest Fr Arthur O'Neill.
The gunman appeared to cock the weapon, but in the end were the raiders were forced to flee empty handed as the priest had no cash in the apartment.
Fr O'Neill said he thought his burglar alarm had gone off accidentally at 5am yesterday when a monitoring station phoned him to see if he was was okay , but after hanging up the phone he was confronted by a hooded man carrying what looked like a machine gun.
"I switched on the light – I was just standing there in my underclothes and he started saying 'give me the money,'" Fr O'Neill told the Herald.
"You kind of go into auto-pilot at that stage, and I was the one getting agitated. He was trying to calm me down instead of the other way around.
"I told the guy I was going to get dressed and and he was getting more demanding, but I was determined to stay in some sort of control. I pushed the gun away. I was wondering if it was plastic, but when I touched it I felt metal."
At this stage Fr O'Neill heard another voice and realised the gunman had an accomplice.
"He was calling in the window trying to hurry things on," the priest said. "He was telling the gunman, 'put one in his leg'.
"I offered my wallet but told him it was empty and there was no money in the house. He must have been there 15 minutes. You don't have coherent thoughts in a situation like that. I suppose I was angry and fearful."
In the end the gunman took the priest's phone and the priest opened a door to let him out.
"I told him I needed the phone as all the parish contacts were on it. They shouted they would leave it somewhere safe.
"They didn't even bother cutting the landline, so I could have called the gardai anyway."
Fr O'Neill later rang his phone and found it in a small yard at the rear of the apartment, with a tile over it to protect it from the weather.
"It just goes to show that they weren't all that bad," he said.