Belfast Telegraph

Woman's plea over OAP death attack

The daughter of a pensioner who collapsed and died after confronting a burglar demanding money has spoken of the family`s devastation.

Bertie Acheson, 72, who struggled with the thug in the kitchen of his home in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, had a heart attack.

The man then snatched a purse containing £375 belonging to Mr Acheson`s wife Sheila, 70, who was in her bedroom. She suffers from severe arthritis.

Daughter Sandra Creelman said: "This has been a nightmare. A total and utter living nightmare. Our lives have just been ruined. It will never be the same again, never. Not for any of us."

Mrs Creelman added: "Mum will never be in her home again. She is terrified going back.

"They stripped my mother of everything she held dear and loved her whole life. The person that did this has destroyed everything.

"Mum is coping as best she can. Sometimes she is numb, sometimes she cries. She is petrified. She won't go into a bedroom at night on her own. Somebody has to be with her. She is not sleeping."

Police believe Mr Acheson`s heart attack was precipitated by the emotional stress caused when he was confronted by the burglar, who broke into the house at Glenmore Gardens, Mountsandel, after smashing a back window in the early hours of Monday morning.

A post-mortem report confirmed cuts and bruises to lips and neck which were consistent with an assault.

Mr and Mrs Acheson had been married for 44 years. Police who launched a murder inquiry believe the burglar lives locally and may have cut himself before fleeing.

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