Two blind brothers who were attacked and robbed by spineless thugs in their County Antrim home last night told how they pleaded with the intruders not to hurt their guide dogs after being beaten with sticks for just £20.
Stephen (42) and George (38) Sloan were in the living room of their Glenville Parade home in Whiteabbey on Sunday night when two men forced their way into the house and demanded money at around 7.15pm.
The pair — who both have Retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye condition resulting in blindness — were not expecting any visitors and were surprised to hear a knock at the door.
Stephen told of the terrifying incident.
“I opened the door and they got in and started asking us for money and for our drugs. They then started beating us so we gave them what we had. It was not very much, the little money we had would have gotten us what we needed for the week. It was £20.”
Stephen said one of the men then went upstairs and ransacked the bedrooms before coming back down and threatening them.
“They told us not to phone the police or we would be killed,” he added. “The whole thing was so terrifying. We were so worried about the dogs, we begged them not to hurt them. We told them they were guide dogs.”
Stephen sustained several cuts and bruises to his face and body while George sustained a broken arm in the attack.
Both men were taken to hospital to be treated but have since returned home.
However, neither has felt safe following the ordeal and their sister Vera and other members from the family have stayed with them for the past few nights.
Their brother-in-law Malcolm Campbell hit out at the attackers describing them as “low”.
“Who could do that to them?,” he said last night. “Everyone knows who they are, they would see them up and down the village.
“It’s bad enough when something like this happens to a sighted person let alone when someone is blind. It’s low.
“It’s obvious they thought they were an easy touch.”
Former Newtownabbey Mayor Lynn Frazer condemned the attack describing the incident as “despicable”.
She said: “This was a despicable act. I simply cannot comprehend the sick mentality of the thugs who carried out this attack. People should be able to feel safe in their homes, free from fear of attacks like this.
“My thoughts are with the two brothers who must be devastated and deeply traumatised following this brutal act.
“Police will obviously be trying to piece together the circumstances and it would be horrific if this attack happened because these thugs thought they might be an easy target.
“Anyone who has information on this incident should contact police immediately. We need to get these thugs off the streets.”
Police said detectives in Newtownabbey are investigating the incident and have appealed for anyone with information about the attack to come forward.
The culprits are believed to be in their early 20s.