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PRISONER; VALENTINE'S BEATING VICTIM SPEAKS I can't bear to be in that house, I don't feel safe & I'm always looking over my shoulder. It's like I'm the..

Byline: KEITH FALKINER

A MAN savagely beaten in a terrifying Valentine's Day attack has revealed he still can't face entering the room where it took place.

Sean Lavelle was left for dead by a gang who broke into his home on Achill Island, Co Mayo, in February 2010.

The thugs tied up the 66-yearold, bound and gagged his wife Emer, and then took Sean into a bedroom where they brutally attacked him.

And, chillingly, the thugs told him to get out of Achill by the weekend - in what later turned out to be a shocking case of mistaken identity.

One of his sick attackers, who was jailed by a court this week for 12 years, admitted that Sean was not the intended target.

The court heard how the criminals told the pensioner that the beating was a warning to stop him "messing around with women in Castlebar".

But even after seeing one of the perpetrators go to jail, Sean is still so haunted by the viciousness of the attack that he can't set foot in the room where the beating occurred.

Sean revealed: "I have never stepped back inside the bedroom where the attack occurred. I was just too traumatised by the memories of it."

Speaking to the Irish Sunday Mirror, Sean revealed how his peaceful Achill home has been destroyed by the attack and he has been forced to move away.

He said: "I live away from Achill for most of the year now - not because I don't like the place or my neighbours but just from the trauma of the attack I find it hard to live in the house.

"I go to stay in England while my wife Emer stays here to work. I am constantly looking over my shoulder and get worried any time a car even comes near to the house.

"This is how I have been living for the past two years - it feels like a jail sentence. It has put an awful strain on us."

Thug Michael McMahon was jailed for 12 years this week for the attack in February 2010.

Sean and Emer's nightmare began on the evening of Valentine's Day when they returned to their home in Dooagh on Achill Island to be faced with two masked men in the living room.

The raiders - career criminal Michael McMahon and his brother Seamus from Blackrock in Co Louth - tied the couple up with duct tape.

The thugs then took Sean into another room where he was beaten across the back, shins and hands with a wooden bar with protruding nails.

One of the attackers then made the accusation that Sean had been "messing around with women in Castlebar" and told him to get out of Achill by the weekend.

Sean said he could feel the blood flowing from his wounds and initially thought that he was going to die from the injuries sustained in the attack.

He told the Irish Sunday Mirror how he now fears somebody paid the brothers to travel all the way from Louth to Achill to attack him and said that despite Michael McMahon having been jailed, he stills wants answers.

Michael's 41-year-old brother Seamus McMahon was murdered in Dundalk a month after the brutal Valentine's Day attack.

Sean said: "This was in no way mistaken identity.

"I believe the men who attacked me were paid to do it. I would have wished for McMahon to have written just on a note who this is, but he didn't give the answers we wanted."

However, Sean said he was baffled by what the men were shouting at him.

He added: "I believe what they were shouting while they were beating me was just a diversion for the real reason I was being attacked."

CAPTION(S):

Terrified... Sean Lavelle was attacked in his Achill Island home in 2010 Michael McMahon
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2012
Words:640
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