Sunday 23 October 2016

'He just kept hitting me in the head' - grandmother tells of horror attack after thug beat her in own home

Doreen O'Shea with her dog Charlie
Doreen O'Shea with her dog Charlie
Doreen O'Shea at her home in Ashford, County Wicklow
Jack Russell Charlie

A grandmother left for dead in a savage attack says she will never be the same person again after an intruder broke both her arms and left her with gaping head wounds.

Mother-of-four Doreen O'Shea (50) was beaten repeatedly beaten with a stick by a young man when her dog startled him as he broke into her home in Ashford, County Wicklow, in July.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1, the terrified grandmother told of how the intruder calmly stepped over her broken and bloodied body and walked out her front door.

“It was around 1.15am and little Charlie started to bark and growl, which is unusual.

“He was agitated, barking at the front door. It was a very windy night so I thought it was the letter box upsetting him.

“But then he just turned his head and went straight to the kitchen door and started making noises I’d never heard before,” Ms O’Shea told Today with Sean O'Rourke.


“When I went to see what the fuss was about I saw a man just standing there looking at me.

“Same height as me, no expression on his face, holding a stick.

“The moment I turned to run and he hit me, again and again he hit me.

“He only went for my head… he didn’t go for my arms or my leg, he just kept aiming and hitting me in the head. Eventually I went down and that’s when he went for Charlie.”

Ms O’Shea said did not 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 lick lick lick on my hand and I realised Charlie was alive and I was safe."

Ms O’Shea 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.

The 50-year-old was later told by doctors she had been hit between 14 and 18 times and there were wood splinters in her wounds.

Ms O'Shea said she can not understand why the intruder left her phone, purse and computer behind and took nothing from the house.

She told RTÉ radio: "I'm not angry anymore, just frustrated by what happened."

“I don’t understand the savagery of the attack. Except for the fact I’m a healthy 50-year-old person I’d be dead.

“Had I been someone in their 70s or 80s, he would have killed me.

“My life will never be the same again. Every time I open the kitchen door, I’m afraid someone will be there.

“I tell myself there wouldn’t be but I how can I know. Sometimes I’ve got to call one of my sons to do it for me.

"I just want the gardaí to catch whoever did this."

Garda said they were still investigating the attack on Ms O'Shea and asked that anyone with information about the incident to contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.

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