A woman was left covered in blood and in shock after a man armed with a claw hammer launched a vicious assault against her in a busy shopping street in the centre of Dublin. The attack occurred on James Street on Friday, 5 August, just before 6pm BST in front of a fast food restaurant.

Eye-witnesses have described to local media how the woman unsuccessfully tried to defend herself from the hammer attack and how the man stood on the victims' head before jumping into a car and making a quick getaway.

"The woman was in the chipper [fish and chip shop]. She walked out and headed in the direction of Mount Brown when a navy/grey-coloured car pulled up and a man jumped out of the passenger's side," one person told the Irish Sunday Mirror.

"He ran at the woman and swung what looked like a small claw hammer two or three times until he made contact, her hands were raised. She then fell to the ground where the man tried to kick but missed, so he stood on her head two times and jumped back into the car. They then drove off."

In a series of gruesome photographs, published by the same newspaper, the woman is seen lying on the Dublin street being treated by medical personnel while covered in blood following the attack.

The victim, whose identity is not known at the time of writing, was treated by a First Response team from the private ambulance company Lifeline, which was passing by. Reports indicate the Gardaí (Irish police) were in the area responding to a separate incident so dispatched an ambulance to the scene, which arrived after 30 minutes.

Based on a separate eye-witness account given to Dublin Live, it appears the attacker may have been known to the victim.

"I was coming up from Mount Brown towards the incident and a woman in a wheelchair was flying past me in a rush," the source said. "When I got close to observe the victim she had a gaping hole in the left side of her head above her ear. The First Response guys were wrapping the wound but the woman seemed highly disorientated and calling the name of her attacker."

A spokesperson for the Gardaí said police are aware of the incident, but a formal investigation has not yet been launched. "Enquiries are being made, but no complaint of an assault has been made as of yet," they said.