Patrick Payne in his home in Kilfinane
A CARER has spoken of his horror after both he and his seriously ill partner were confronted by a gang of three men in their rural county Limerick home.
Patrick Payne, 61, who lives outside Kilfinane described how three men entered his home at the weekend and subjected both he and his partner Mary, 71, to a terrifying 30-minute ordeal.
The culprits are understood to have left with €1,000 in cash and, bizarrely, doused the home in talcum powder and sprayed Mr Payne with deodorant before leaving the house.
“The reason I want to get this out there is because of the woman’s situation and the fact that they were aware of it. The fact that they were capable of doing this means that there is nobody safe,” Mr Payne told the Leader this week.
“On Saturday, Mary took a turn in relation to it,” he added.
Mr Payne, who is a full-time carer for his partner Mary, is convinced that the culprits who entered his home on Friday night last had knowledge of his partner’s health condition and were also aware that he had money in the house.
“I opened my front door at 9.15pm to let my dog out to go to the toilet. I left my front door closed but not locked and three guys walked in on top of me with balaclavas on. One of them held me in the kitchen and then two of them went into the sitting room where my partner was.
“The minute they came into the house, they called me by name. And the two who went into Mary, they used her name as well. They called me Paddy.”
His partner, he explained, suffers with major heart problems and has undergone a triple bypass. She was in the livingroom watching TV when the men gained entry.
“She is prone to seizures. She has had strokes and has mental disabilities. She has to be helped to walk and all that.
“All the lights were turned off in the house and they were using flash lamps.They knew all this about that woman and still came and done that. It was me they were after basically.”
He said there was no violence used, just “pure intimidation”.
“The one that held me was doing a lot of aggravated talk - there was not as much in the livingroom. I was kept away from my partner for about 20 minutes. I explained to him about her condition but he seemed to be aware of it anyway. They held me in the kitchen but I wasn’t allowed go near her. If I made any attempt to go near her they would say, ‘there is no need to be a f**king hero’.
“The whole thing took, which is extraordinary, maybe 30 minutes or there abouts. There was no need for it. The money was in my pocket. In the first 10 seconds they took the money straight out of my pocket.”
Mr Payne feels the gang were working on information and that their motive was money.
“It was on my person because I was after drawing it from the Post Office back further than that. I was after drawing Mary’s pension, my own money as carer’s allowance and I also had €500 that I took out so I had a total of €1,000 in my pocket that day.”
Mr Payne doesn’t think his partner was aware of what was happening at the time but “took a turn” the following day.
“It was probably later that she became aware of what had actually transpired. During it, I don’t think she was quite aware of what was actually happening.”
In an usual move, the gang, according to Mr Payne, sprayed him with deodorant and shook talcum powder around the house.
“They doused the talcum powder all over the kitchen, the small bedroom where the woman was sleeping and the hallway. It was like snow - covered the whole place they did. They got it from the house - from Mary’s bedroom.
“I thought it might be to cover footprints around the house but at the end of the day it might have been an afterthought that ‘we will do a bit of messing’.”
“On leaving the house the men said, ‘We’ll see you next week!
“I have a pet goat at the back of the house and one of them said to me ‘Look after that pet goat up there’.They were carrying a big spike. They spiked the tyres on my car.”
Mr Payne said he had no previous interaction with the individuals. Gardai in Bruff confirmed that “the incident was reported and it is under investigation.”