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fears growing Family who survived machete attack 'forced to buy pitchforks' as police fail to find thugs behind assault

David 'Gramsey' Joyce and his son Christopher say they have bought pitchforks for protection in the event of another attack on their home.

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David and Christy Joyce with pitchforks at their home

David and Christy Joyce with pitchforks at their home

Bernard and John Joyce

Bernard and John Joyce

Geraldine with baby John

Geraldine with baby John

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David and Christy Joyce with pitchforks at their home

A family who survived a horrific machete attack in their own home has told how they have been forced to buy pitchforks for their own protection - as police still haven't arrested the thugs responsible.

David 'Gramsey' Joyce and his son Christopher say they have bought pitchforks for protection in the event of another attack on their home.

"Until the ones responsible are arrested and put behind bars, we will not feel safe in this house," said David's wife Lizzie, who was struck a number of times during the attack.

"The fact the PSNI know who they are, and still haven't got a European Arrest Warrant, will make these people think they can do this again and get away with it.

"If they come through the door again, at least we'll have something to fight them off with this time."

Lizzy also told this week how the PSNI's failure to deliver justice for the family has had a horrific impact on her own personal health.

"This happened all the way back in September 2019," she said.

"We were promised at the time that the police would move quickly … but it has been one let down after another ever since.

"The police told us at the time they were going to get a European Arrest Warrant and gave us the impression they'd have them up here before a judge within a matter of weeks.

Blade

"Now it's well over a year later and we were told recently they still don't have that warrant."

During the horror attack on November 16 2019, Lizzy suffered a number of wounds to her leg after a gang burst into her home and struck her with a machete.

Her baby grandson John was also targeted and was only saved when his aunt, brave teenager Geraldine Maughan, threw herself between the tot and the blade.

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14-year-old machete victim Geraldine Maughan

14-year-old machete victim Geraldine Maughan

14-year-old machete victim Geraldine Maughan

Geraldine was sliced open six times as she used her body to shield her godson.

Police believe the men who burst into their home were searching for baby John's grandfather 'Gramsey' Joyce.

Gramsey, who has a fearsome reputation as a bare knuckle boxer, was in a house nearby and raced to his family's aid after hearing the screams but the attackers had fled.

Horrifically, the attack was taped on a mobile phone by one of the thugs present and later sent to Geraldine as she recovered from her injuries in hospital.

Geraldine later told the Sunday World how she believed she was going to die after her lung was cut open during the vile attack. But she said: "He's my godson and I love him. I couldn't let them hurt him even though they were hitting me."

Geraldine also recalled how, as the blows from the machete rained down on her, she "looked up over my shoulder and I could see one of the men standing over me". "I was screaming for help," she added.

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Geraldine with baby John

Geraldine with baby John

Geraldine with baby John

"And then he started laughing at me, laughing like the devil, and he just wouldn't stop. I thought they were going to kill me and then they were going to kill baby John and then my cousin."

Speaking this week, Lizzie said the last two Christmases since the attack happened have been a nightmare for the family to get through.

"The Christmas after it happened I was out one day buying presents and I had a panic attack," she said.

"But this Christmas in a way was a bigger struggle because these people are still out there and as time goes by it seems less and less likely they are going to be arrested.

"That's a hard thing to deal with … knowing the PSNI know who these men are and that so far they have done nothing to bring them to justice.

"I have been diagnosed with PTSD, I barely sleep for fear they'll come in again on top of the children and I have lost weight and suffer from anxiety.

"I have a sick husband here to care for (Gramsey was treated for throat cancer) who is also worried about protecting his family and looking after us.

"What happened in this house was attempted murder and the PSNI need to treat it that way."

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Bernard and John Joyce

Bernard and John Joyce

Bernard and John Joyce

One bright point in 2020 for the family came earlier this month when two men were sentenced in the Republic for online death threats against Christy and Gramsey.

Bernard Joyce and John Joyce, with addresses in Blackberry Lane, Athlone were each given five-year suspended sentences at Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court for the online death threats.

"We are grateful to the gardai," Lizzy continued.

In a statement to the Sunday World after we previously contacted them in relation to the family's concerns, Detective Inspector Michael Winters of the PSNI said: "Our enquiries are ongoing into this incident.

"Suspects have been identified and will be spoken to by officers in due course and the family will be kept informed of all developments in the case."

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