Elderly man in critical condition after vicious assault by gang during burglary

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An elderly man who was the victim of a horrendous assault by a group of men during an burglary in the west of Ireland has deteriorated, and is now in critical condition.

Thomas Niland, a 73 year old bachelor, had to crawl from his home to get help after a gang of three men attacked him at home on the evening of January 18.

He was at home watching TV in Skreen, Co. Sligo around 6pm. when three masked men forced their way into his home, attacked, and robbed him.

Tom, who is the sole resident of his house, answered a knock to his front door and was immediately and viciously assaulted and a small sum of money was stolen.

He was left with serious injuries to his head and body, but managed to crawl from his home and alert passing motorists. Gardaí were then alerted by his neighbors.

The elderly man was taken to Sligo University Hospital, where Gardaí say his condition has deteriorated, and he is now in critical condition, and on life support.

It is believed that the attackers arrived in a car, which reversed into the driveway of Tom’s house.  It is not known at this time, if any person remained in the car during the course of the attack.

A Garda family liaison officer was appointed to Tom’s family immediately after the incident & An Garda Síochána continues to support his family at this time throughout their ordeal.

A large scale investigation was launched, with a team of detectives and Gardaí operating out of an incident room set up for this case.

A number of Checkpoints in the immediate aftermath of this aggravated burglary and house to house enquiries in the area yielded some information.

Gardaí say that hours of CCTV footage have been recovered, multiple statements taken, and that multiple lines of inquiry are being followed, including based on forensic evidence.

In a briefing today Superintendent Mandy Gaynor said that no stone will be left unturned in this investigation.

“There are people out there who know who was involved in this aggravated burglary and serious assault on an elderly man in his home.”

“Thomas Niland and his family deserve to have these criminals who carried out this heartless act brought to Justice.”

Gardaí are appealing for any person with any information on this vicious and cowardly aggravated burglary and assault on Tom to contact them immediately.

Gardaí are appealing to every person who was driving along the N59 (Sligo/ Ballina Road), in the Skreen area, on Tuesday 18th January between 4pm – 8pm, who may have dashcam or any other video footage to contact investigating Gardaí.

They are also appealing for any person, who noticed any activity by persons or vehicles which drew their attention, in the wider N59 Skreen locality to contact them with that information, whether you think it is related to this investigation or not.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sligo Garda Station on 071 915 7000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.