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Family make Crimewatch TV appeal to catch pensioner Bertie Acheson's killer

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 01/06/2012

The heartbroken daughter of a pensioner who died after confronting a burglar in his home is to make an emotional appeal for information about the killer on national television.

Seventy-two-year-old Bertie Acheson suffered a heart attack after confronting an intruder at his home in Glenmore Gardens in Coleraine last month.

Mr Acheson’s murder sparked widespread revulsion from the whole community and led to calls for tougher sentencing for criminals who target the elderly.

Tonight, his daughter Sandra and son-in-law Keith Creelman will feature on the Crimewatch programme alongside senior detectives from the PSNI.

“There is someone out there who knows what this guy did,” said Mr Creelman. “He has a mother or a partner and if they know what he did and have any compassion they will hand this person over.”

Meanwhile, Sandra Creelman choked back tears as she described her father as a much loved family man.

“He was very quiet, unassuming and really friendly,” she said. “If he met someone on the street he would always be friendly to them ... He was basically a family man.”

The programme will also feature a reconstruction of the events of April 30.

Mr Acheson and his wife, Shiela, were awakened from their sleep by the sound of breaking glass during the early hours of the morning. Bertie went to investigate and was confronted in the kitchen by an unknown male intruder.

An altercation ensued and during the struggle Mr Acheson fell to the floor. The burglar then made his way to the couple’s bedroom where he threatened 70-year-old arthritis sufferer Shiela before stealig her red purse.

Mrs Acheson was able to raise the alarm but by the time the emergency services arrived her husband was dead.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, who is leading the police investigation, said he hopes the Cr imewatch appeal will prompt people to come forward.

He said: “We appreciate all the information and assistance which has been provided by the local community to date — but we need more information to make that important breakthrough.

“Someone knows who was responsible for taking Bertie’s life, leaving his elderly wife Shiela completely distraught and leaving the wider family circle absolutely devastated for nothing more than a few hundred pounds from Shiela’s purse.”

The Crimestoppers charity has offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Bertie’s murder.

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