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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 20 August, 2019

Masked gang attack cancer patient with hammer in front of his family during burglary

Tariq Meraj was attacked in his home last Tuesday.

Damage done to the house.
Damage done to the house.

A FATHER OF three who is suffering from cancer was attacked in his home by a masked gang who beat him with a sledgehammer in front of his family. 

Tariq Meraj was attacked in his home last Tuesday shortly after he returned from evening prayers at a nearby mosque. 

Meraj, his wife and three children were all present when raiders broke through their door at around 10pm last Tuesday. 

The masked men demanded money and jewellery before one of them attacked Meraj, a well-known and respected businessman, with a hammer – breaking a number of his ribs. 

Meraj’s brother Rashid told that his brother is not recovering well and that his family has been left shaken by the incident. 

He said: “My brother was coming home from mosque at around half nine or ten when he heard banging. There was a group of men outside banging on the walls and the door – they managed to smash the windows on the door and started to come into the house. 

“His children were there when it was happening and so was his wife. These men who attacked him – they are cowards. They were shouting for money and for jewellery . My brother told them to take what they wanted and to get out but they started shouting asking where the safe was.

“My brother does not have a safe but they didn’t believe him and then one of the men hit him with a hammer. He suffered some broken ribs and he is in a lot of pain.” 

Rashid explained that his brother is already receiving treatment for cancer and doctors said that they expect him to be in hospital for a while longer. 

Rashid added: “The gardaí are working hard and they have been very good to us. We don’t know why those men waited for my brother to come home. It would have been easier for them to take these things when the family was not there.

“These men are cowards. They went around the house breaking tiles on the ground and then mirrors as well. There was nothing my brother could do. The community here has been great. 

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Gardaí sent out a text alert following the incident to locals based in the Shaen and Emo areas of Laois.

A garda spokesman said: “Gardaí at Portlaoise are investigating an aggravated burglary which occurred at Shaen, Portlaoise, Co Laois at approximately 9.50pm on Tuesday 26th March 2019.

“Four masked men armed with what is described as sledge hammers and screwdrivers entered house and assaulted occupants. The suspects stole jewellery, cash and other items. The raiders fled on foot. No direction of travel No arrests have been made and investigations are continuing.”

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