A FAMILY in Ballyroan have been left traumatised following a terrifying armed robbery in their own home, in which two young children were present while thugs held their father at knife-point.
In a related incident the raiders also stole a car in an early morning robbery which left a woman so badly beaten she had to be taken to hospital.
The sickening events unfolded last Friday morning, January 6. A family home was broken into near the Blanchford Cross area of Ballyroan, just after the woman of the house left for work at around 9am. Two men entered the house through the unlocked back door and threatened the male occupant with a knife, demanding money and jewellery.
Although the incident only last a few minutes and the man was not injured, he was left very shaken and traumatised by his ordeal. What made the attack even more frightening was the fact that the family’s two young children were present in the home, although it is not believed that they were exposed to the assailants.
The two men were aged in their 20s. One is described as being tall and thin, while the other was shorter with a strong build. Both were dressed in tracksuits and trainers and they made no effort to conceal their identity with masks. They are not believed to be from the local area.
Sergeant Joe Culliton of the Abbeyleix gardaí said it was possible they believed the house was empty, having seen the man’s wife leaving for work. Sgt Culliton said that the men were most probably parked up watching the house and saw the woman leave before making their move.
The car used by the men was stolen at around 7.30am that morning in Athy in yet another particularly heartless crime. A woman was leaving for work was attacked so badly in her own driveway she had to be taken to hospital. Sgt Culliton said that the woman was sitting in her car, a black Peugeot with a W 2011 licence plate, when she was approached by the men.
Realising the danger she attempted to escape with her keys, but she was chased down by one of the men and struck about the head a number of times. Although not seriously injured, the woman was taken to hospital but she has since been discharged. Her car was eventually recovered near the Roundwood area of Wicklow, having been driven off the road in an effort hide it.
Describing it as “a very traumatic incident for any family,” Sgt Culliton appealed to anyone who may have seen the black Peugeot, either in the Ballyroan area or on the motorway from Athy. Sgt Culliton said the men may have called to a filling station on route, or perhaps even other houses.
“It wouldn’t take an hour and a half getting from Athy to Ballyroan, so they may have come to attention somewhere else,” he said.
Condemning the incident, Cllr Mary Sweeney said it was important to remind people of ensuring safety in their own homes.
“It’s a horrible thing to have happen, I know the family well. We’ve recently reformed the Community Alert in Ballyroan to advise people of safety in the home and it’s a dreadful incident to have someone walk in like this. It’s a terrible thing, particularly with small children in the house,” she said.