Belfast Telegraph

Elderly couple tied up in raid on Co Armagh home feared for their lives

By Cate McCurry

An elderly couple who were tied up and locked in their bathroom while masked men ransacked their home say they feared for their lives.

The husband and wife, who are in their 70s, were left terrified when five masked men, one armed with a poker broke into their Co Armagh home while they were watching TV on Thursday evening.

Detectives are now hunting for the gang, who are described as having 'southern' accents.

The couple, who are grandparents and who did not want to be named, suffered cuts and bruises to their hands and wrists after the men tied them up with telephone cables.

Speaking from their home on the Portadown Road near Tandragee yesterday, the retired businessman and his former teacher wife said the terrifying ordeal lasted some 40 minutes.

The couple were watching television in their home at about 8pm when the woman heard a noise outside.

"My husband sort of heard it too so he went around the inside of the house to see if anything had fallen," she said.

"But there was nothing so we continued watching television. But then I heard the back door handle going and I said to my husband about it."

She switched on all the interior lights and checked around her home, but nothing was found.

"I just had a feeling that someone was inside the house," she added.

Minutes later when her husband went outside to have a cigarette the waiting gang pounced.

"All I could hear was shouting and roaring from the group who were saying, 'get the f**k back into the house'.

"The men had their faces covered with scarves and hats.

"They dragged my husband inside and made him lie down in the hall and some of the men came into the room to me and roared at me to sit down.

"My phone was sitting on the arm of the chair and they took that. They took my husband's phone too. They were roaring and shouting and I said to them, 'have you not got a mother or father, would you do this to them'?

"One of them said, 'shut up or you'll get worse'. It was horrendous, he started waving the poker in my face."

The pensioners were bound with cables and locked in the bathroom.

She added: "We feared for our lives, it was very scary. I was shaking.

"We didn't know what they were going to do. When they tied us up with these wires I slipped and fell and one of them took a fit of laughing. The same man seemed very agitated.

"Before they searched the house they cut the wire off the iron, put out the light in the bathroom and pulled the blind. They tied the handle of the bathroom so we couldn't open it."

The gang took £120 in cash before they fled from the house.

The couple, who have lived in their family home for more than 40 years, managed to untie themselves and call for help.

"We're both ok but it was an awful ordeal," the husband said.

"I was afraid they would take one of us away from the house, but thankfully that didn't happen."

Newry and Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin MLA has slammed those behind the aggravated burglary. He branded those behind the attack "thugs" and urged for anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious to contact the PSNI immediately.

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