Belfast Telegraph

We’re not moving, I will leave here in a box, vows robbery victim (83)

By Deborah McAleese

An elderly man who was struck with an iron bar as he bravely tried to protect his brother and chase a gang of robbers has vowed they will not to be intimidated out of their home.

It is the third time in two years that robbers have targeted the Co Down home of Jimmy (83) and Patsy (81) Murtagh.

Although the brothers, who have lived there for eight decades, have been left distressed by the recent attack, Jimmy insisted they will not be frightened into moving.

“We are not moving. I will leave here in a box. I will defy them,” he said.

A gang of five masked men forced their way into the brothers’ house in the village of Lurganare outside Newry on Monday evening while they were watching television.

As one of the robbers came into the living room where the brothers were sitting Jimmy grabbed a chair and tried to chase him. The robber called for back-up from his accomplices who had been ransacking other rooms in the house and Jimmy was struck on the side of the face with an iron bar.

The men then fled with the brothers’ pensions.

Both brothers, who are frail and have health problems, were taken to hospital with a minor injury.

“What cowards — five big men taking on two elderly gentlemen. It is just so sad that they are not being left alone to live their lives in peace,” the brothers’ niece Angela Murtagh said.

She added: “Jimmy was very brave confronting the robbers. He just didn’t want them to be robbed again. They have lived here all their lives. They are very innocent men who lead simple lives and they are very well liked.

“I am deeply concerned about their physical and mental health after this latest attack. They have only just begun to feel comfortable again after the previous two attacks. It is so sad that they are now back to square one.”

Ms Murtagh said the brothers had been provided with a panic alarm after the second robbery at their home, however, the PSNI took it back when there had been no further incidents.

“The alarms are very expensive and apparently are only provided when there is a real and immediate risk. We are now looking at all available options to try and make their home as safe as we can. They don’t want to move,” she added.

The mayor of Newry, Charlie Casey, said the Housing Executive should be securing the homes of elderly people as a matter of urgency. “Despite being robbed twice before, this family was not considered eligible to have extra security fittings installed at their home,” said Mr Casey. “I urge the Housing Executive to target resources as a matter of urgency into placing additional security on the homes of our elderly.

“Recently it has been revealed that the Housing Executive is facing an underspend and will be returning many millions of pounds. Surely they could put some of this money into installing security lighting and systems on homes.”

Belfast Telegraph


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