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Disabled pensioner attacked by a rat

Diana Kirk with her face covered in blood
Diana Kirk with her face covered in blood Image credit:

A 76-year-old disabled woman was rushed to hospital last week after she was attacked by a rat in her sleep.

Diana Kirk was left with severe injuries to her face, she was found by her husband and carer, John, 85, at 5.45am last Monday with “blood everywhere”.

Mrs Kirk, who does not experience pain and has brain damage, sleeps downstairs at her Nottingham home in a hospital bed.

Her husband said he heard a rodent “scratching around” on his feet throughout the night when he was in his bed upstairs.

After waking up around 6am he went downstairs to check on his wife, but was horrified when he saw her face was covered in blood.

He called an ambulance which arrived at 8.20am.

Mr Kirk said: "I've never seen anything like the injuries she had - you can see how bad they were from the pictures. It was absolutely savage.

"I went and knocked on the door of the young girl over the road as she is also always up early and so she helped. They took Diana to the Queen's Medical Centre and she came back on Thursday night.

"There were scratches on her face, her neck, her hands - it had tried to gnaw right through to the bone from the looks of it. There was blood everywhere."

A neighbour managed to catch the rat the following morning after they set a trap in the house.

After catching the rodent they eventually killed it with a pellet gun, but it took four attempts.

The rat also tried to bite Mr Kirk when attempted to pick it up and take the rodent to the patio.

"Because of her condition, my wife can't move," said Mr Kirk. "I have since read that rats only ever go for young babies and people who are immobile in bed like my wife.

"She can't feel pain so she would not have known much about what happened. I would like people to know what can happen and to be aware of it. I found out a couple of days after it happened that it was making a nest in the house."

Helen Speed, care manager at Home Instead East Notts and Melton Mowbray, which provides care to the elderly couple at their home, said: "A few weeks ago another one of our caregivers was in Bingham and heard some squealing - there was a rat inside a client's dustbin.

"I think it must be an ongoing issue and one that I think people living nearby need to be aware of - especially if they are vulnerable."

Rats can have as many as 20 babies at a time.