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Terror night widow (80) woke to find burglar at bedside

Traumatised pensioner Ann may now move away from beloved home

By Donna Deeney

Published 24/03/2016

Ann McClure at her home in Derry
Ann McClure at her home in Derry

An 80-year-old woman who woke in horror to find a burglar standing at the side of her bed may be forced to leave her home because she is too afraid to stay there.

Since her husband died 10 years ago, Ann McClure has lived alone in the Galliagh area of Londonderry. While the house holds many happy memories, she may now leave it and move to Scotland to be with her family.

Ann, who is hard of hearing and has poor eyesight, did not hear the burglar smash the living room window in the early hours of Sunday. Nor does she know if he said anything to her as he stood beside her bed.

Terrified Ann did not speak and the man crept out of her bedroom a few moments later.

Frozen with fear, Ann pressed the alarm button she wears around her neck and asked the emergency responder who answered to call the police.

Despite being scared, she got up and carefully made her way through the rest of the rooms, unsure if the man had been alone or if he had accomplices.

The broken glass on her living room floor and the smashed pot plant outside showed how the raider had broken in. Ann, whose purse was stolen, told the Belfast Telegraph she thought she would now move.

"I never thought I would have to make a decision like this," the pensioner said.

"My husband and I moved into this house 23 years ago from Scotland after we had our family reared.

"We were so happy here - it is so full of memories, but I don't think it will ever be the same.

"My daughter flew over here on Monday when she heard what happened, and I think that I will have to go back with her because I would be too afraid to stay here on my own.

"I have to wear two hearing aids and my eyesight isn't great, so I didn't hear the man break my window, but my neighbour heard the glass breaking and rang the police.

"I only realised when I woke and the light was on and he was standing at the side of the bed looking down at me.

"I never spoke, I was too afraid. He left after a few moments, but it felt much longer."

Ann said that when she got up and looked around, very little had been disturbed, except for a photo of her daughter and where the brazen thief had smashed his way in.

"When I think about what he could have done, it scares me," said the traumatised woman.

"He could have killed me or beaten me up, so I don't think he was a bad guy.

"He took my purse which had the money I had been saving so I could go and visit my family in Scotland, but he threw the purse with all my cards in the garden of a man who lives nearby. He brought it back to me.

"My neighbours have been in to see if I am doing okay, and on Tuesday a man I had never met before came to the door and asked my daughter if he could come in and speak to me.

"He said that he heard what had happened to me and then handed me £50.

"He left before I could thank him properly, but I do thank him from the bottom of my heart.

"I know there are so many good people out there, but I think the time might have come for me to leave Derry."

Belfast Telegraph

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