NewsCrime Desk

Family flee their homes after vile attacks by mob

Josephine McGrath is terrified after the attack
Josephine McGrath is terrified after the attack

A petrified granny, her daughter and her autistic grandson have told how they were forced out of their homes a few doors apart by a baying mob armed with hammers, slash hooks and golf clubs.

Josephine McGrath told yesterday that she is too frightened to go back to the three-bed council house in Co. Limerick where she has lived in for the past 34 years without a garda escort.

The 61-year-old mum-of-four told how she desperately barricaded herself inside her front door when her house in Hillview Drive, Kilteely was attacked by male and female members of a local  family after dialling 999.

She told how she was issued with a grim warning weeks before her home was attacked by a man wielding hammers.

She said: “They told us ‘We’ll rule Kilteely. We’ll own this village’. They are like the mafia. It’s four or five families who are all related. 

“My home is gone and my daughter’s home is gone. We’re homeless now.”

The shaken Limerick granny, who has endured months of on-going threats after calling the guards on the gang, said she was watching television on Sunday night when she heard her window smash.

 “I go to bingo on a Sunday night but I had a bad feeling.   All this tough stuff had been going on about four weeks. We used to give their children sweets. We don’t know why they are doing this.

“I was watching Big Brother on the telly with a cup of tea last Sunday when they threw a rock at the window and it smashed.

“I went out and a man came up with two hammers.  He said I’m going to get you, you’re dead. Your whole family will be dead.’

“He threw one of the hammers at me and it just missed me so I ran in the door. He went back down and destroyed the fence we had up for my grandson, who is autistic.

Josephine McGrath, who has been driven from her home of 34 years  in Kilteely, Co. Limerick by anti social behaviour pictured with her daughter Debbie and grandsonJack(14) who has Hydocephalus, Autism and occasionally suffers from seizures

“As he was running up with the hammers this man was shouting about us sending the guards to them the day before.”

She said her neighbours were too terrified to interfere with the family members who surrounded her house hurling abuse and smashing up her fence and window.

“I live on my own and I barricaded myself in. One of the women was beating my sitting room window with the sticks of my fence. The man was beating the small porch where my front door is.

“I had my leg up to the door and I have a small little skinny press and put it down flat so it was blocking the door and up against the wall.

“I was on the phone to the guards while they were outside and I was screaming. It was going on for 20 minutes and I was on the phone to the guards the whole time. When they came I was on the floor devastated and absolutely terrified inside my house.

“They would have murdered me. The whole village is so sorry about what has gone on but if anyone out there backed us up they were the next ones.

 “They actually did say they would come back and burn my house and one of my neighbours said they shouldn’t be doing that because there was a young baby in there. That was the reason my house wasn’t burned on Sunday night.”

She said her 14 year old autistic grandson, Jack, who was forced out of his home late the following night with his mother Debbie, is distraught.

She said: “Jack is autistic and gets seizures. He misses his routine. 

“He can’t talk but when he wants to go home he gives me my handbag and tries to say ‘home’.  He keeps doing that.”

Josephine said she is terrified to return to her estate even to get her belongings after fleeing last Sunday night under Garda protection.

 “I would rather face a pit-bull any day of the week than those animals. I will never put my leg in Kilteely ever again only with a Garda escort to get my stuff out of my house.

“They terrorise vulnerable people. It was even more dangerous for Debbie the following night because they all had weapons.”

Her daughter Debbie said she and her child were at her home on Monday night at around 11 o’clock when a mob of over 20 people came to her door with slash hooks, golf sticks and hurleys.

She said:  “They threw golf sticks in my front door. There were about 25 of them. They called us rats. They had thrown petrol in my letter box.

“I called the guards on them.  It was all members of the one family.

 “I went to the guards on May 17 and since then they have been hurling in abuse saying if we ring the guards they will kill us, they will shoot us. We do ring the guards because we haven’t much choice.”

Josephine, Debbie and Jack are now sheltering in a relative’s home.

Gardai confirmed they attended the scene and received a complaint of damage to property and are carrying out an investigation into the alleged intimidation.

A local source said yesterday that it has been a row which has escalated out of control.

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