AN ELDERLY woman was brutally attacked and knocked to the ground in broad daylight as she went to Mass at St Johns Church, Kilkenny.
Gardai have branded the mugging as ‘heinous’ and are using every resource at their disposal to catch the assailant.
The callous attack took place as the lady was on her way to 10.30am Mass. The 80-year-old was pushed to the ground and sustained a broken hip in the violent attack. Her handbag was snatched and the attacker ran off in the direction of the Dublin Road leaving his defenceless victim lying helpless and injured on the ground before a passer-by came to her aid and alerted the emergency services.
She received medical attention at the scene and was rushed to St Luke’s Hospital and was later treated at Waterford Regional Hospital. It is believed that the woman, who is from the city was left ‘badly shaken’ . “She is a strong individual and although she was shaken and injured we hope that she will recover from this horrific ordeal,” a garda spokesman said.
Deputy John McGuinness who knows the victim and her family all his life said he was ‘shocked’ by the incident.
“I have spoken with her family and this lady, who is one of the original tenants of Assumption Place and I grew up with her children. She is very well-liked and well-known locally. She is still very shaken and is in hospital. Her family are obviously shocked and upset that this would happen especially in broad daylight.
“This has happened before and this kind of opportunistic crime is a sign of the times we now live in. This sends out a very negative message and we should all exercise care not to be deterred by it. People have to be vigilant and should stand up to this. We have to be a lot more careful about how we protect our elderly and keep an eye out for each other. This can be done in an unobtrusive and friendly way,” he added.
Parish priest Frank Purcell, who was saying Mass when the attack took place told the Kilkenny People that prayers were being said for the victim of the attack and that CCTV footage had been handed over to gardai.
Gardai are appealing for witnesses to the ‘heinous attack’. “This is a deplorable act of violence. It was a heinous act of violence and an extremely mean act. Someone was going about their business in a peaceful manner and attending to their religious beliefs when they were viciously attacked. We are determined to exhaust every line of enquiry and bring the person responsible to justice,” a garda spokesman said.
The attacker is described as a male, aged between 25 and 30, of slim build and was wearing a green and black sports top. The incident happened on October 6 in the grounds of St John’s Church. Anyone with information is asked to contact Kilkenny Garda Station in confidence on (056) 7775000.