Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Police probe violent attack on disabled patient's wife

Left in a pool of blood: Alan Bickerstaff, who is bed-ridden, being comforted by his wife Elizabeth (Lila), who was beaten at her Taughmonagh home in south Belfast

A PSNI probe was under way today after a woman told how she was "hit on the head and face" in her Belfast home.

Elizabeth Bickerstaff, who is a full-time carer for her disabled husband, was left unconscious after the incident at Belfast's Taughmonagh estate.

The 52-year-old mother of four has no recollection of the incident but vividly remembers waking up, lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood.

Just moments before, Mrs Bickerstaff had given medication to her husband Alan (48), who is a stroke patient.

Today in the Belfast Telegraph, the couple's son appeals for information.

Mrs Bickerstaff, who sustained multiple facial injuries and required stitches for a head wound, said she was now living in fear.

"I'm still a bit shaky," she said.

"My face is healing a bit now. I was hit on the head and face. My daughter took me straight to hospital and I had to get five stitches in my head."

The incident occurred on March 21, around 8pm, after Mrs Bickerstaff returned home from a local social club.

"I took a taxi home," she said. "I left my purse in and the driver brought it back for me. The last thing I remember is watching the taxi driving away.

"The next thing I remember is wakening up, lying on the floor of our bungalow in a pool of my own blood, with face and head injuries."

Mrs Bickerstaff said that after doctors confirmed her injuries were consistent with an assault, she reported the incident to the police.

"At first I didn't want to believe that someone would come in and do that to me," she said.

"I thought I had maybe fallen, so I didn't immediately go to the police, even when the doctor said I had been assaulted.

"Right after it happened I was too worried about Alan because he was in the house alone and I just wanted to get back home."

Mrs Bickerstaff said she had given her husband his medication just moments before the incident but he did not witness what happened.

"Alan was in the house at the time, but he's a stroke patient and he gets a bit confused," she said.

Mrs Bickerstaff's son, Peter Pollock (33), said that it was difficult to understand the motivation as nothing had been stolen from the house.

He also appealed for public help.

"Mum is only 5ft tall and she weighs less than seven stone," he said. "She could have ended up dead. Whoever did this could have murdered her.

"We really want to find out who did this. Who would do this to someone? Someone must know something. Mum was covered in blood, so whoever attacked her must have been covered in blood too."

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed that an investigation into the incident was under way.

"We received a report that a woman had been assaulted," the spokesperson said.

"It is believed she sustained facial injuries. Inquiries are ongoing."

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