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17th Sep 2018

83-year-old man hailed as “total hero” for fighting off armed raiders in bookmakers

Conor Heneghan

Denis O’Connor is some man for one 83-year-old man.

An 83-year-old man has been hailed as a “total hero” for his role in helping to foil an attempted armed robbery of a bookmakers in Ireland over the weekend.

On Saturday, three men, reportedly armed with a shotgun and two hammers, attempted to stage a robbery at Bar One Racing in Glanmire and were eventually ran out of the bookmakers by an employee and a customer on the premises at the time.

CCTV footage of the incident that was shared on social media shows O’Connor tackling one of the armed raiders before assisting the store manager Tim Murphy in tackling another before all three armed men eventually ran out of the premises.

Speaking to Neil Prendeville on Cork’s RedFM on Monday, Murphy hailed O’Connor – whom he described as a “lovely man” – as a “total hero” for his role in foiling the armed raiders.

“I remember Denis just shouting, ‘ye’re cowards, ye’re total cowards’,” Murphy said.

“Denis is a total hero and when I saw him taking one of them on he inspired me.”

“I was just being threatened by the two fellas with the hammers, Denis tackled one of them and I said I have to tackle this fella now.”

“I tried to grab the hammer but it was a total blur at the time,” Murphy added.

“Once they were taken on at all they totally backed down.”

Murphy said that O’Connor tripped one of the raiders up and then “booted him up the arse”. “It was fantastic,” he said.

As for his own account of the incident, Murphy said: “I worked in the bookies for a long time and I’ve been expecting it to happen for some time, but when it happened it was a shock.

“They wanted the safe money, they were shouting, ‘we want the safe, we want the safe’.

“The gun wasn’t pointed at me at any stage but it looks quite real in the footage. One fella jumped on the counter, it was quite intimidating. The noise was incredible, they were roaring and bashed the hammers a few time; it was a shock.”

In a statement, Irish police said that they are investigating an attempted robbery of a bookmakers at Crestfield, Glanmire at approximately 6.30pm on Saturday.

“Three males wearing balaclavas entered the premises, two reported to be carrying hammers and one reported to have a possible shotgun. Following a struggle with staff they left empty handed in a waiting black car. Investigation on-going,” the statement read.