Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Healy's comfort for fan (82) robbed while watching game

Gang steal Christmas savings

David Healy has sent a special message to an 82-year-old Northern Ireland fan roughed up by a group of thugs who stole his Christmas gifts fund after burgling his Belfast house while he watched the team beat Denmark 2-1.

Jack Cassidy was left traumatised by the attack, and was unable to immediately return to his St Agnes Place home because he feared his attackers would come back.

The former painter and decorator, who is a big Northern Ireland supporter, was peacefully watching the big European qualifier on telly when he heard a loud bang.

Unsure what it was, Jack went to investigate and was confronted by four youths who had managed to break into the small semi-detached house.

The thugs then threatened the pensioner, roughed him up and stole money he had saved for his heating and Christmas out of his pockets.

The thieves ransacked the house and urinated in every room including Jack's bed and told him it was done so he would not lie to them.

A horrified David Healy told the Belfast Telegraph: "I was very sorry to hear what happened to Jack. Obviously he has had a very distressing time and I just want to wish him well.

"Hopefully for Jack and all the other Northern Ireland supporters back home, we will provide some cheer with a great performance and a great result against Spain."

After the frightening incident, the 82-year-old stayed with relatives and only returned home yesterday.

"I will never forget the noise they made when they broke in," he said.

"It was terrible, I was really shook up by it. I actually thought it was a bomb, to tell you the truth.



"The first thing they said to me was, 'Where's your money?' They did not hurt me, they just manhandled me and rummaged through my pockets.

"I had just drawn the heating money out the day before. They also took money I had saved up for Christmas presents."

Saturday night's robbery was not the first time Jack's home has been broken into. Five weeks ago thieves smashed his kitchen window to try to gain entry but were unsuccessful.

There was also an attack on a nearby greengrocer a few months ago, prompting further fears among the small group of elderly residents who live in the quiet, suburban street.

After Saturday's attack, Jack's next door neighbour went to stay with relatives because she feared she would be next. It is because of this that the brave pensioner said he decided to speak out.

"I spoke out to help others," Jack said. "This is a vulnerable area. It is so quiet all the time and everybody who lives around here is elderly. I think the police should be doing more patrols, at least that way if they did we would feel safer and the thieves would think twice about trying to break in."

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed they had received a report of a burglary at a house in the St Agnes Place area of west Belfast on Saturday evening and appealed for anyone with information about the attack to come forward.

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