GARDAI are hunting masked thugs who viciously beat and drove over a young woman as they stole her jeep and chip van.
Wendy Taaffe, from Ardee, suffered horrific injuries, including a fractured spine, a brain bleed and internal bleeding, after the Saturday morning attack.
The 34-year-old, who owns Wendy's Whistlestop, a chip van, had been setting up for business early in the morning on the N2 in Louth when she was set upon.
The thugs beat her up and then drove over her legs, breaking one of her ankles and fracturing her leg as they drove off.
But the brave businesswoman vowed today: "I'm going back to work. They are not going to frighten me off."
The attack took place at 6.30am just outside Ardee.
"I'm in absolute agony. I'm in terrible pain. I'm shell-shocked," said Wendy, who is in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. Her father Dessie added: "They took her out of the chip van and I'm using her words, 'Kicked the s*** out of me'.
"They split her skull, she had a bit of bleeding at the back of the brain.
"She had a black eye, she has a broken ankle and a fractured leg. She also has internal bleeding of the womb. Her whole backside and front are kicked beyond recognition," he said.
Wendy had been pulling the chip van with her jeep when a car with its lights turned off moved in behind her. Two men wearing balaclavas then attacked her.
"She's only about 4ft 8in, she a very small lassie. I got a fright when I saw her. She couldn't move, her eyes are black. She's in an awful state. She's black and blue," added Dessie.
"They took the chip van after they battered her and left her on the road. They went up the road about half-a-mile and unhitched the chip van. They didn't look in the chip van for money, just took the jeep.
"They definitely weren't after money. She had a few euro as change in the chip van but they didn't go into it," Dessie told Joe Duffy's Liveline.
It is feared that her attackers were attempting to intimidate Wendy into closing down her roadside business.