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Timeline of terror: How thugs have struck fear into elderly

Published 06/11/2015

Mrs Muriel Diffin had her husband’s wedding ring stolen while she was attending his funeral
Mrs Muriel Diffin had her husband’s wedding ring stolen while she was attending his funeral

Wednesday, October 28

A gang of masked men ransacked the home of an elderly woman during a burglary in north Belfast.

The thugs entered her house in Downview Mews, telling the woman in her 70s that they were looking for drugs.

They ransacked a bedroom and stole money before leaving the property.

Police said the gang members were aged in their 20s and 30s. The woman was not hurt.

The elderly woman's son blasted the culprits as "low-lifes".

He revealed one of the thugs held his mother in a room while accomplices tore her home apart.

"The house had been trashed, turned upside-down," he said.

Wednesday, October 28

Four masked men forced their way into the home of a man in his 80s.

The burglary took place in the Drumreagh Road area of Ballygowan, Co Down.

Police believe they were armed, but the type of weapon they had was unknown.

A sum of money was taken before the men fled the scene. The victim was not injured.

Thursday, October 22

A man in his 90s and a woman in her 70s were targeted by a gang armed with a screwdriver and poker.

The elderly couple were held in the kitchen of their house in Garvagh, Co Londonderry, by two masked intruders who were dressed in black.

Two other masked men ransacked the property. While not physically injured, the elderly couple were treated by ambulance staff for shock.

The raid was subsequently described as "barbaric".

Wednesday, October 14

A frail couple aged in their 70s were left living in fear after three thugs ransacked their home.

The criminals forced their way into the couple's property and ordered them to stay in their living room while the house was ransacked.

The couple have lived in the same terraced house in Newtownabbey's Rush Park estate for more than half a century.

The male victim said: "Nothing like this has ever happened to us before.

"We've lived here for 54 years, and this has always been a very quiet area."

Friday, October 9

A woman in her 80s had her wedding ring stolen from her hand during a sickening and frightening raid on her Co Londonderry home.

The woman was alone in an upstairs bedroom at her property in Queens Avenue, Magherafelt, at the time.

Four men entered the house, ransacking the property and removing the wedding ring from the woman's hand.

The gang were aged in their late teens and were wearing knitted hats with scarves around their faces.

Police described the incident as "loathsome".

Detective sergeant David Halliwell said: "Any crime in which older people are the victims is, of course, despicable, but taking a treasured wedding band from the hand of an elderly lady is a particularly loathsome act."

Monday, August 17

An elderly woman said "burden and insult" was added to her grief after her house was burgled and a wedding ring was stolen when she was at her husband's funeral.

The break-in happened at a house in Milford. A large amount of money, gold rings and a number of other items were taken as Muriel Diffin (83), buried her late husband, Espie.

Mrs Diffin said the theft three days after her husband's death had left her "heartbroken".

The wedding ring had just been returned to her after Espie died in hospital on Friday.

The couple had marked their 52nd wedding anniversary just weeks before.

Belfast Telegraph

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