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They threatened to burn my Bible: Elderly woman speaks of frightening robbery ordeal as farmer husband suffers heart attack during raid

By Nevin Farrell

Published 09/08/2016

Ruth Pollock in her bedroom
Ruth Pollock in her bedroom
The couple's belongings are strewn across the floor
A neighbour helps repair the damage to their door
Chris and Ruth Pollock on their wedding day in 1999

The elderly victim of a violent rural robbery has said raiders threatened to burn her Bible as they ransacked her isolated farmhouse before her husband suffered a heart attack.

Ruth Pollock, who is in her 70s, was left badly bruised after being tied up by masked and armed intruders claiming to be from the IRA, who smashed into their north Antrim home at around 1am yesterday.

They took cash and beat up her husband Chris (78) - and the pensioner later suffered a heart attack brought on by the stress of the ordeal.

Both pensioners were treated in hospital for their injuries.

However, Ruth returned to her Lisnagat Road home near Mosside on Monday morning to feed her cattle while her husband was being kept in the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph at her home yesterday, Mrs Pollock said she was praying he makes a full recovery and hopes he can get out today.

Mr and Mrs Pollock married in 1999 and have lived in the farmhouse ever since.

They had never experienced rural crime until terror arrived in their home yesterday as they slept in their bed after listening to an American religious preacher on a radio show.

The couple attend gospel halls in areas like Ballintoy and Ballycastle, and Mrs Pollock said her faith was helping her get through.

She said as they slept they were suddenly pulled from the bed by the raiders.

She said: "There were two young boys, with masks on. They said they were IRA. I kept brave and cool and I said I didn't interfere with the IRA.

"I said: 'IRA? If you repent the God above will forgive you'."

Mrs Pollock thought they might have been pretending to have been IRA and that there was a possibility they were local.

"They pulled us up to the front room. They tied me up and they ransacked the house," she said.

"They said they were looking for money and said they were going to burn one of the Bibles. They even looked behind pictures on the walls.

"They tied the two of us onto the sofa. They tied Chris up.

"They had two guns. I don't know if they were real or not. They were dressed the same way as you would see on the television and all we could see was the eyes.

"Chris is a farmer and he was strong and they held him down, and as he tried to resist they gave him a terrible battering. And they were sore with me too.

"They tied the two of us with a green cord and they broke the house phone at the last. They tied me on the legs with my hair dryer flex, then Chris said they were away. It must have been the hand of God but I was able to free myself and I tried to cut a belt which they had tied Chris' arm with.

"I had serious bother getting that cut off his wrists.

"His wrists are swelled and I suppose that is what give him the heart attack. I suppose it was the shock.

"When I went in to the hospital I was shaken and my blood pressure was sky high and I said I would keep calm and I prayed to the Lord that he would keep me calm."

Mrs Pollock said after they freed themselves, her husband drove them to Ballycastle police station where they were given tea. Officers then called an ambulance to take them to the Causeway Hospital.

She added: "I was in all night and I was only home at 11am this morning. Chris wanted home but I told him to stay there and I would look after the cattle."

Mrs Pollock said she is unconcerned that the men might return, and said she will not be leaving her home. She added it was the first time something like this had happened. She said although the raiders threatened to come back, police said they would keep watch, and a neighbour was going to stay with her while Chris was in hospital.

Mrs Pollock said the police gave her a mobile phone that she can use to contact them.

Officers are investigating, and Detective Sergeant Wallace said: "It was reported that two masked men, wearing dark clothing and armed with suspected firearms, forced entry to the house at around 1am. They threatened and tied up the two occupants, both aged in their 70s, and then ransacked the house.

"The men left the house a short time later with a sum of money. Both occupants were left very badly shaken by their ordeal."

Belfast Telegraph

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