Residents of a quiet cul-de-sac in east Belfast have expressed their shock after a father-of-two was stabbed in the stomach after interrupting an intruder yesterday morning.
The Belfast Trust last night described his condition as stable.
It is understood the victim, aged in his 50s, confronted a young man who had broken into his garden shed shortly before 9.30am.
A neighbour raised the alarm.
Yesterday evening the property on Grangewood Road, Dundonald remained sealed off and under police guard. Forensic officers had been at the scene all day.
One resident who lives just a few doors away from the married father of two teenage boys had returned home from night shift just a short time after the horrendous incident.
"I didn't know what was going on and then I found out he'd been stabbed," he said.
"I couldn't believe it, especially at that time of the morning."
He described the victim, who also suffered a head injury in the attack, as a "very friendly neighbour" who got on well with everyone in spite of poor health.
"It's not an uncommon sight to see an ambulance outside his house, but I knew something more sinister was going on because the police were everywhere, they were even in my back garden," he said.
The concerned neighbour said he found it frightening to think that such an attack could unfold in a quiet cul-de-sac where children play in the street.
"I have a young daughter and it's terrifying to think that she could have been in the house on her own this morning. It could have easily been our back garden," he said.
Another resident, who described the victim as a "quiet, but friendly man", said he was left stunned following the attack.
"I dropped my son to school at 8.30am and when I came back my neighbour's house was a crime scene," he said.
"He has had very poor health for a long time and has collapsed on a number of occasions - last year he collapsed and wasn't discovered until his wife came home from work.
"Most people assumed the ambulance was here in relation to that. It was only when the police and forensics arrived that we became concerned."
DUP MP Gavin Robinson said the attacker showed no regard for law and order and must be apprehended as quickly as possible.
"I am appalled to hear that someone suffered this horrendous attack in their own property - it would have been a terrifying ordeal for the homeowner," he said. "I would urge anyone with details to get in touch with the police."
DUP colleague Joanne Bunting MLA also condemned the "truly shocking and appalling" attack.
"My first thoughts are with the victim and his family. I trust and pray he will make a full and speedy recovery," she added.
Ms Bunting also urged anyone with information to contact the police and warned people to exercise extreme caution if confronted by a burglar.
"It is important that nobody is put in harm's way even though your first instinct may be to protect your property," she said.
Detective Inspector Wallace said officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen a man aged in his 20s acting suspiciously in the Grangewood Road, Dunlady Road or Ballyregan Road area between 9am and 9.30am.
"Anyone with information - or CCTV covering their house which could have captured images during the time period we are most interested in - should contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 275 of 16/05/18," he said.