Belfast Telegraph

Disabled man tied up and set on fire in his living room says he’s too afraid to stay in house


By Leona O'Neill

A disabled Co Tyrone man says he no longer feels safe in his own home after two men broke in, wrecked his house, tied him to a chair and set his trousers on fire.

Strabane man Mickey Diver (47) - who suffers from leg paralysis and walks with the aid of a frame - was watching television at the weekend when the men broke in through the kitchen window of his Springhill home.

They assaulted him, leaving a large gash on his head, and tied him to a chair in his bedroom before ransacking his home.

They set various pieces of furniture alight before turning their attention to the vulnerable man, setting his trousers on fire with lighters while he was tied to the chair and unable to escape.

Mickey says he was shaken and traumatised by the attack.

"I was sitting watching TV on Saturday night and these boys broke the back window and climbed through," he said.

"They just attacked me for nothing.

"They grabbed me, took me into the bedroom, sat me on a chair and then tied my hands behind my back.

"They tied me with cable ties and it cut through my skin.

"They made me sit like that for two hours while they wrecked my house.

"They set fire to pictures on the wall and also set my sofa alight."

Mickey said they wrecked his bathroom and other parts of the house.

"They were setting fire to everything and they pulled the smoke alarm off the roof," he said.

"They were trying to burn my bungalow down.

"Then they came in to me. They came in and hit me a hard punch in the head, I've a big cut there. Then they lit my tracksuit bottoms while I was tied to the chair.

"I couldn't get away and my trousers were on fire.

"Have you ever been held down, tied up and set on fire? It was terrifying. I couldn't escape.

"I can hardly walk, I use a zimmer frame. I couldn't get up and run.

"They put the fire out on my trousers but I was burned right up my leg."

He said that eventually the attackers released him and fled in a car.

"I was in agony but I couldn't get up," he said.

"They stole my mobile phone so I couldn't ring anyone.

"I had to stay there for hours before I eventually got the strength to get my walking frame and walk to my mother's house, which is not far away.

"But it was agony walking.

"My leg was badly burned and my head was bleeding.

"My mother phoned an ambulance for me."

Mickey says after the attack he doesn't feel safe now in his own home.

"I am feeling terrible today," he said.

"I am so sore and I am scared. I don't want to live here anymore. I want to move.

"I don't feel safe in my own home. I want to go into a homeless shelter or anywhere. I just don't want to live here."

The PSNI in Strabane say they are currently investigating "a very serious incident, involving burglary, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, false imprisonment and criminal damage, reported within the Springhill Park area of Strabane".

"This incident is believed to have occurred between Saturday, February 17, at 10pm and Sunday, February 18, at 1am," said a spokesperson.

"Police have arrested and charged one person in relation to the incident.

"However, we appeal to anyone with any information, to contact police on 101 quoting reference 464 18.2.18.

"If you wish to report information anonymously, please contact Crimestoppers on telephone 0800 555 111."

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