Belfast Telegraph

Grandfather feared robbers would drown him in bathtub

By Chris Kilpatrick

A grandfather said he believed he was going to die after attackers held his head in a bathtub full of water during a robbery, only releasing him when they thought he had drowned.

Joe McAuley was tied up and beaten by two men in the lunchtime attack at his home.

They then dragged him to the bath in an effort to get him to hand over money.

His 17-year-old granddaughter, who was tied up in a bedroom, was also left traumatised by the ordeal.

Mr McAuley said the men threatened to hurt her if he didn't comply.

Their terrifying ordeal happened at lunchtime on Wednesday at Mr McAuley's home at Croft Avenue in Carnlough, Co Antrim.

The thieves ransacked the house before making off with less than £100 cash.

Mr McAuley's daughter Anita said her father had been beaten beyond recognition. "Dad came out into the hallway and they were just standing there," she said.

"They started to punch him in the face and batter him. He was told not to look up and they tied him with cable ties.

"They then tied my daughter up too. They kept shouting about where the money was, but there was no money. My dad is just a normal, working man."

When the Belfast Telegraph called at his home yesterday, the marks from the vicious beating were visible.

Miss McAuley said her daughter was devastated by having to hear the ordeal her grandfather was going through. She said she feared her father, who runs a small business, was going to be killed. "His face is black and blue," she said. "The hospital had to take fluid from his ears. His ribs are painful, possibly fractured. They could have killed him.

"When they couldn't get money one decided to put him in the bath. They were drowning him.

"They put him under three times. The third time he was choking , he couldn't breathe, and they dragged him out.

"They thought they had gone too far."

Miss McAuley's daughter managed to free herself from the cable ties used to restrain her.

She found her 56-year-old grandfather slumped in the bathroom.

Mr McAuley required hospital treatment for his injuries.

A security firm spent yesterday afternoon installing alarms and a panic button in the property.

Detectives have appealed for information which would help identify those responsible for Wednesday's raid.

The attackers are said to be aged in their 40s. One has ginger hair while the other has receding hair.

It is understood both spoke with Belfast accents.

Quote

"When they couldn't get money one decided to put him in the bath. They were drowning him. They put him under three times. The third time he was choking, he couldn't breathe, and they dragged him out. They thought they had gone too far. I don't know how anybody could do something like that. It's disgusting." – Anita McAuley, daughter of victim Joe

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