Belfast Telegraph

Raid gang scald Tyrone OAP with kettle of water to make him hand over cash

By Donna Deeney

An elderly farmer was tortured by robbers who held him down and scalded his hand with water from a kettle to get him to tell them where he kept his money.

A car load of men burst into the Co Tyrone pensioner's home while he sat in his living room, which was lit only by oil lamps.

The incident on Dunnyboe Road on the outskirts of Dunamanagh on Sunday night was the second in rural Co Tyrone within a week. The traumatised 77-year-old victim is now being looked after by relatives after he was discharged from Altnagelvin Hospital.

The retired man lives alone at his farmhouse, which is not connected to the electricity grid and which has been his family home for generations.

It is understood the gang terrorised the man before beating him. They left him with cuts and bruises to his face as well as burns to his hand before ransacking his home.

As the thieves made off with cash, they took the farmer's legally-held shotgun. They pointed it at neighbours who heard his calls for help and tried to block their getaway car.

"All I saw was the barrel of the shotgun being pointed at us. One of the gang was shouting: 'Shoot them, shoot them'," one of the neighbours told the BBC.

They were pursued by the neighbours in the direction of Dunamanagh village, but they lost them on the country roads.

This attack, which comes just a week after a similar one on four elderly siblings in nearby Clady, has struck fear into the heart of the local community.

A police spokesman said all lines of inquiry were still under consideration - including the possibility that there may be a link between this and the violent robbery of a family in Clady last week.

In Sunday's robbery, the gang arrived in a dark Seat car. A Seat Toledo was found burned out in Daisyfield Park off the Letterkenny Road in Derry just after midnight. Strabane Council chairman Dan Kelly said the two attacks had struck real fear among the rural communities

He said: "This was a vulnerable man, living on his own in his home which is not easily seen from the road. It would have to make you wonder if this gang knew where to find him."

Meanwhile, a woman aged in her 60s was tied up while a gang ransacked her home in north Belfast. It happened at around 9pm on the Cavehill Road on Sunday evening.

One of the two robbers bound the woman's hands with cable ties while a second searched the house. The males made off with a sum of money before the householder was able to raise the alarm.

Detectives believe a third, unseen man was involved.

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