Candlelight vigil held in Co Tyrone as community stand united with woman (83) who fell from window during burglary at her home

A burglary at an elderly woman's home on Sydney street, Aughnacloy is being treated as attempted murder after she was found in her garden in a critical condition. Officers believe the 83-year-old lady may have fallen from an upstairs bedroom window while trying to escape while her house was ransacked by four men. Picture Mark Marlow...
Marie Louise McConville

A Co Tyrone community came together for a candlelight vigil last night to "stand united" against the "heartless scum" who broke into the home of an 83-year-old woman, who then fell from an upstairs window.

Friends and neighbours of Pat Davidson, who remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition, met at the top of Sydney Lane in Aughnacloy, near the pensioner's home.

Those promoting the event said it had been organised to let Mrs Davidson know "the people of Aughnacloy are thinking of her and her family and that we stand united" while another said the gathering was to show that the village "will be standing up to the heartless scum who attacked this lady in her own home".

The elderly widow, who lived alone, was found lying on concrete beside her garden shortly after 9pm on Tuesday after a gang of four men broke in and ransacked her property.

A dog walker passing the property is thought to have disturbed the gang - who fled in a black-coloured car.

He discovered Mrs Davidson lying on the ground, having fallen around 12ft. Her injuries are believed to include a fractured skull, spine and pelvis.

Police investigating the incident, which is being treated as attempted murder, last night said they had "made progress" as they issued an appeal about two cars.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: "We are seeking information about a dark-coloured car bearing the registration GK56 AEG, and a silver car, possibly a Ford Focus, with registration 06WX 6313. We believe at this stage these were both false registration plates".

He asked anyone with "information about these cars" to contact detectives in Dungannon.

Police are also exploring a link between the incident and three other burglaries - at Aghaloo Close in Aughnacloy, Richmond Park in Ballygawley and McDowell Terrace in Seskinore on Tuesday.

The Irish News has learned that only one of the other properties targeted is home to an elderly couple, while the others are home to householders aged in their thirties and forties.

SDLP councillor Sharon McAleer said the elderly couple targeted in Ballygawley had been left "very shook up".

Ms McAleer revealed it was the second time the home of the couple - believed to be aged in their seventies - had been targeted.

The retired couple, who live on the edge of Ballygawley village, were not at home at the time of the intrusion.

"They are very shook up," said Ms McAleer

"It is just awful. They weren't in the house, just away for a short period of time".

Meanwhile, Rev Ian McKee from Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church, where Pat Davidson attends, said everyone was "praying for her to recover".

He described the pensioner as "an incredibly private lady".

"She is just very ill. I have only spoken to one of her sons and he was very minded that we would pray much for his mum. What's happened has happened and we need to look positively to the future. I am solely focused on family and praying the family through this terrible ordeal".

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