Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Pensioner attack, the Pope and baby Penelope

Daily Mirror Image copyright Trinty Mirror

'OAP bound and gagged in hammer attack' is the headline in this morning's Mirror.

The paper has spoken to what it describes as "a battered pensioner" who was beaten with a claw hammer during a terrifying attack at his home in Kilkeel, County Down.

Clifford Mooney, who is 69, told the paper he fears those responsible will come back to hurt him again.

He said he woke up on Tuesday night with "three boys" standing in his bedroom.

Image copyright STILLFX
Image caption A claw hammer was used by Mr Mooney's attackers (stock image of hammer)

"Then whack, I got hit on the head with a claw hammer," he said.

"Then they put a pillowcase over my head and tied a belt around my neck and legs.

"I was shouting, so they took the pillow case off and stuffed a towel in my mouth."

The News Letter also features a picture of the injured Mr Mooney on its front page.

The photograph shows the pensioner lying in a hospital bed with dark bruising on his face.

Mr Mooney's nephew, Adrian Eakins, has described those who hurt his uncle as "scum".

"He's never even fell out with anyone in his life," he said.

'Every penny he had'

"He initially thought it was his nephews, us, at the bottom of the bed.

"He would be a religious man and was just back from a prayer group.

"They took his bible and went through his pockets and took his wallet.

"He gets a pension on a Monday and on the Tuesday they had taken it from him, they tried to take every penny he had."

'Psychopaths'

Also in the News letter is a psychiatrist's analysis of terrorists. Under the headline "IRA just calculating killers," Dr Philip McGarry explains his findings.

He said the IRA and loyalists were often described as "crazy" or "psychopaths," but he asserts that politically-motivated violence and terrorism were, by definition, "mindful".

In the Irish News is the story of an Irish woman who has been killed in a helicopter crash in Wales.

Ruth Burke and her husband Kevin, who ran a construction company, are believed to have died in the crash along with Mr Burke's two brothers and one of their wives.

Also in the paper is a nod to Rome, with a promise by the Vatican that Pope Francis will "do everything he can" to come to Ireland next year.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A senior Vatican official made the comments onThursday

The same story is picked up by the Belfast Telegraph, where it reports on "strong speculation" that the Pope will include Northern Ireland in his visit.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: "If he does come, he'll surprise us and challenge us.

"Ireland has changed, the Pope has changed."

On page three of the Belfast Telegraph is a story of relief after a baby emerged "unscathed" from a "horror crash".

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption The PSNI released this image to show how important a well-fitted car seat can be

Baby Penelope was pulled from the crash which left the car, driven by mum, Sarah Thompson, written off.

The police released images of the crash on Wednesday and said a "carefully fitted car seat" had saved the baby's life.

Mrs Thompson told the paper the crash was "absolutely terrifying" and that Penelope had made no noise in the moment's after the impact.

She said it was only after she saw the picture the police shared that she realised how lucky they were.

"In the end she didn't even have to go to hospital," she said.

"The people at the scene were a huge help.

"One man leaned straight in, unbuckled the seatbealt and lifted out the car seat.

"He was great and took Penelope to the other side of the road out of harm's way."