A mother was fighting for her life last night in the Republic of Ireland after she was bludgeoned with a hammer as she lay sleeping.
The mother of one, named locally as Joanna Benko, was discovered with serious head injuries lying in the front bedroom of her home on Ladyswell Road, Mulhuddart, Co Dublin.
Her three-year-old son, Philip, was in the house at the time of the attack, which happened on the woman's 32nd birthday.
Originally from Poland, she has lived in the area for five years and has occupied the house in Mulhuddart for 18 months.
Last night, she was in a critical condition at Beaumont Hospital as gardai questioned a 39-year-old man about the incident.
Birthday gifts of flowers, a cake and a card lay in the house as the garda forensic team examined the scene.
Gardai were alerted after a man made a 999 call informing them that a woman was injured at the west Dublin house.
A man then later walked into Blanchardstown garda station and told gardai that he had attacked her.
Gardai, ambulance and fire brigade crews rushed to the house at around 10am.
Officers kicked in the front door of the house and discovered the woman lying in bed in the upstairs front bedroom.
Neighbours said another couple, who are friends of the woman, were asleep in a back bedroom of the home at the time. They were believed to have been unaware any attack had taken place until gardai entered the house.
Neighbour Olive Walsh said the couple had said they "didn't hear anything".
"The gardai came up and they had to break down the door. They went into the wrong bedroom. They went into the back bedroom and her friends were asleep in the back bedroom.
"They never heard anything; they got a shock," she said, adding that gardai then discovered the injured woman in the front bedroom.
It is understood the mother of one suffered serious head injuries after being struck a number of times over the head with a hammer. It appears she was asleep in bed at the time of the attack.
Workmen in the area described her face as being badly bloodied as she was stretchered from the house, with ambulance workers walking on each side of the stretcher supporting her head.
A workman said the paramedics described the blood loss as heavy.
Neighbours said the woman's friends later drove away from the house, accompanied by the three-year-old boy.
According to people living in the area, the woman has been living there for about 18 months and was often spotted in the front garden of their home playing with the child.
A woman working at the Centre Point Newsagent, a couple of hundred yards from the house, described the injured woman as a "lovely lady".
"She was very friendly to talk to but quiet," she added.
Ruth Coppinger, the socialist councillor for Mulhuddart, described the community as "shocked and appalled" by the attack on the young mother.
A 39-year-old man being questioned about the incident at Blanchardstown garda station can be held for 24 hours under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
A garda forensic team could yesterday be seen working in the front bedroom of the home before they removed several paper bags full of material from the semi-detached house, where an older model Mercedes car sat in the driveway with its windows lowered.
Source Irish Independent