It’s a truly dreadful story, but with a happy ending, because a man behaved like a man:
A millionaire yesterday told how he fought off three armed burglars who were holding a knife to his daughter’s throat, saying he “would rather die like a man than a dog”.
Bernard Dwyer, 51, was convinced he and his family were about to be killed so he chose to take on the men – hours after they had allegedly killed a restaurant owner, a court heard.
Mr Dwyer came to his 13-year-old daughter Aisling’s rescue after hearing her piercing screams for help, the Old Bailey was told.
Despite being threatened with a gun, stabbed three times in the head and beaten unconscious with a knuckle-duster, Mr Dwyer fought back as one of his attackers screamed “kill the b******”.
He managed to wrestle a gun from one of the masked raiders and chased them from his luxury home in Uxbridge, West London, in November 2006, the jury heard.
Yesterday, Irish-raised Mr Dwyer, a construction boss, faced two of the three men accused of the burglary.
Brothers Michael and Dean Atkins are also on trial for the murder of restaurant owner Helen Chung, 65, the day before the break-in.
A third man, Joseph Carty, committed suicide in his cell last year while on remand for both offences.
The court heard Mr Dwyer, Aisling, now 14, and his son Danny, 19, were asleep when three men burst in.
He said: “I heard people running up the stairs and Aisling screaming ‘Dad’. I had never heard screaming like that before. I knew something was clearly wrong.”
Mr Dwyer said he jumped from his bed and ran towards Aisling’s room but was confronted at the doorway. “There were three guys coming towards me,” he said.
“All masked, all covered with balaclavas, gloves, padded out, forensically aware.
“One man was holding a gun, waving it about, screaming menacingly.”
He said they attacked him after he agreed to show them where his safe was, one with a knuckle-duster.
Mr Dwyer said: “I took quite a few blows at that point.
“I have seen things on television and I have seen violent stuff but I have never seen this level of violence.
“I was being compliant and they were smashing and bashing me.”
Mr Dwyer was knocked unconscious for a few minutes and when he came round one man was holding a knife to Aisling’s throat and screaming: “I am going to cut your f****** daughter”.
Mr Dwyer said: “We were going to die anyway, that’s what I thought. I thought, if I am going to die then I would rather die like a man than a dog.”
Mr Dwyer pushed the weapon away before striking the attacker.
“I hit him several times, I hit him plenty. The man with the knuckleduster screamed ‘He’s fighting back the b******, kill the b******, he’s fighting back.'”
Mr Dwyer said he was stabbed three times in the head but managed to fight the raiders off and shut the bedroom door. But the men tried to push back in and they fought again, he said. “I have never used a weapon in my life and it was a great feeling.” [Emphasis mine. –ed.]
“I grabbed the gun and bashed it across the knuckle-duster guy. Next thing is they took off and I chased them down the stairs.”
The raiders fled empty-handed, leaving Mr Dwyer with broken ribs and 30 cuts to his body and head.
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