The family of an 83-year-old woman who was hurt after falling from a window following a burglary have issued a message of thanks for the prayers and help of the local community.
It is thought that Pat Davidson jumped from an upstairs window as she tried to escape from intruders at her home in Aughnacloy on Tuesday.
She remains in hospital, in a condition described by the Southern Trust as “serious” but stable.
The incident has “sickened” the local community, who turned out in their hundreds for a candlelit vigil on Thursday night.
Rev Ian McKee from Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church, which Pat Davidson attends, passed on a message of thanks from Mrs Davidson’s family on Friday.
“The family wish to say a very sincere thank-you to folk for their prayers, and to the neighbours who rallied round on the night,” he said.
“They were out in the pouring rain with no thought for their own comfort, they wanted to be there and to help.
“The family have specifically asked me to say a very sincere thank-you on their behalf.”
Rev McKee described Mrs Davidson as “very private”.
“She is very well respected within the community,” he added.
“She had thousands of chickens that she looked after until little more than a year ago. It is just amazing at the age of 83. She was a hard-working woman who minded her own business and got on well with her neighbours.
“She was an active lady, into her 80s, in a way that others mightn’t be. She just got on with her life. She is a grandmother and is just as well loved by family and friends alike.”
He added: “I think it has clearly touched a nerve with people, particularly elderly folk who live on their own and are afraid. We just have to pray that the powers that be can take some steps to reassure people.”
The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch said: “I have no doubt that fear of crime amongst older people will have increased from this sickening attack.”
Mr Lynch added: “I want older people to be able to go about their daily lives without feeling afraid.
“Older people deserve to feel confident that justice will be served and I want to see higher levels of convictions against the perpetrators of such crimes.”