A young man was shocked to find a live hand grenade in the front garden of his home just seconds after he had placed his 18-month-old nephew in a car parked nearby.
Brian Martin, who had just returned from holiday, said he spotted the device and initially thought it was just a toy.
However, he realised to his horror after picking it up that the device was not a replica grenade.
“It was surreal – it was a grenade that the pin had been removed from. The intention was to cause harm when it was thrown,” he told Cork’s RedFM. “I was in the Reserve Defence Forces and, from looking at it when I picked it up, I knew what it was.
“It was by pure chance I spotted it. I looked down and my first reaction was that it was my nephew’s toy which had fallen out of the car.”
Mr Martin was attending to a few jobs in the front garden of his Ballindangan home in Co Cork – with his little nephew having been placed in a car seat just metres from where the hand grenade was found.
“To my horror and shock I realised it was a lot heavier than a toy,” he added.
“I had a couple of seconds looking at it and the first thing that came into my mind was to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
“I threw it from the yard down away from the house, garden and everybody there.
“If it had gone off, I didn’t want anyone to be hurt.”
A Garda investigation is under way into how the grenade was thrown into the garden. Detectives believe the house was not the target and it was a potentially tragic case of mistaken identity.
The entire area outside Mitchelstown had to be evacuated last Saturday as gardaí, supported by the Defence Forces Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, attended the scene.
“Shortly before 5pm on February 15, gardaí received a report of a possible suspect device outside a specific address in Ballindangan,” a Garda spokesperson said.
“An extensive search of the area was carried out by the Defence Forces search team and gardaí. However, no device was found.
“At approximately 10.30am on February 23, a home owner, 500 meters away from the reported incident on February 15, reported the discovery of a suspect device in the front garden of their house.
“The house was evacuated and the roads were closed for a period. The EOD team arrived and confirmed the device was viable. We are appealing for anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area to contact gardaí.”
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