Robbers pin blind farmer (77) to floor, then beat and threaten him at knifepoint
A visually impaired, retired farmer was pinned to the floor, beaten with a stick and threatened with a knife, when three masked men ransacked his home for his life savings.
Joseph Waters, a 77-year-old bachelor, was sitting at his kitchen table in his rural bungalow in the Kildangan area of Durrow, Co Offaly, when the gang broke in at around 8pm on Monday.
He was struck a number of times on the body, suffering a particularly severe hit to his head.
The attack came just months after another farmer, 54-year-old Richie McKelvey, was attacked by a gang in his house near Birr. Local man PJ Gorman said Mr Waters was alone when the attackers climbed through a window they had smashed at the back of the house.
"His little kitchen is in the corner of his home, and after getting inside, they made their way down the hall," he said.
"Joe was looking at a book at the time when they attacked.
"I don't know how he'd be reading it because his sight is bad - and the lighting in the kitchen isn't great."
"They started shouting 'we want the money, we want the money, we'll kill you, we'll kill you'.
"They then pinned him to the floor," he added.
Mr Gorman said two of the men went into another room, searching and pulling the place apart.
"The other lad held Joe in the kitchen, took out a knife, and held it to his throat," he said.
"Each of them also had sticks about an inch-and-a-half thick, and three-feet long.
"They belted him with their weapons, and pulled him around the yard to try and loosen him up."
He added that, thankfully, Joe wasn't cut when they put the knife to his throat.
"He has a mark on the side of his head, but he had a scan in hospital, and thanks be to God is OK.
"They think his shoulder was dislocated, and he may have broken a bone. I don't think they got anything in the end."
When the attackers fled, Joe stayed in the house for about half an hour because he was "afraid" he'd be attacked again if the men were still outside.
Gardai have appealed for witnesses who may have been in the area or travelling on the Tullamore to Clara road, between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, and noticed anything suspicious.