An 83-year-old woman has been left fighting for her life after falling while trying to flee from burglars.
She was found in the garden of her house at Sydney Street in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone shortly after four men ransacked the property around 9pm last night.
Police believe the pensioner may have fallen from an upstairs window and an attempted murder investigation has been launched.
She was treated at the scene by ambulance staff before being taken to hospital.
She remains in hospital at this time where her condition is described as critical.
The four suspects made off in a black coloured car in the direction of Moore Street.
Police are investigating a possible link between the incident and three other reported burglaries which occurred in Aghaloo Close in Aughnacloy, Richmond Park in Ballygawley and in McDowell Terrace in Seskinore yesterday, as well as a separate report of a similar suspicious vehicle.
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “This is a sickening incident in which a vulnerable 83 year old woman sustained serious injuries. We are investigating the circumstances of the burglary and believe that the lady may have fallen from an upstairs bedroom window while trying to escape while her house was ransacked.
“We take the issue of crime against older people extremely seriously and remain committed to putting those responsible before the courts. We work to prevent such crimes, to catch those responsible for incidents which do occur and to help older people keep themselves and their home safe. We understand the effect that burglary can have on its victims and want to reassure the community that we are undertaking thorough and robust investigations.
“I am appealing for anyone who has any information about this incident to contact detectives in Dungannon. I am particularly keen to speak with anyone who may have seen a black coloured car in the Sydney Street or Moore Street area yesterday evening or last night I would also like to hear from anyone who noticed anything suspicious in Aughnacloy, Ballygawley and Seskinore yesterday.
“We have set up an incident room in Dungannon to deal with any information. Please call 101 ex 53135 quoting reference 1218 of 23/01/18. Alternatively, information can also be provided about either incident to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”