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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Widow, 78, tells of ordeal at hands of masked raiders

An elderly widow has spoken for the first time of her horror at being confronted in her bedroom by masked raiders.

May Kelly photo
May Kelly

May Kelly told the News & Star of an ordeal that left her terrified to sleep in her own home as police made a fresh appeal for information into the sickening attack.

Together they hope it will spark somebody’s memory as well as appealing directly to the two thugs responsible.

The 78-year-old was in bed at her Whinlatter Road home in Whitehaven on October 31 when she heard a loud bang from downstairs at about 1.20am. She got up and looked out of the bedroom window, but, as she did, two balaclava-clad men burst into the room.

Mrs Kelly told them to get out but instead they struck her on the arm with a claw hammer before throwing her onto the bed.

Again Mrs Kelly tried to plead with the men to leave, but they covered her face with a pillow to stop her talking.

But the determined pensioner was not giving up without a fight and stood up to the men, looking them in the eyes.

They then demanded money and knowing she didn’t have any choice but to cooperate, she told them where her purse was.

As well as taking £260 in cash, the crooks raided Mrs Kelly’s jewellery cupboard, taking a number of sentimental items including necklaces that her late husband Gerard had given her, before fleeing.

“I had just lost my husband of 56 years in July and was still grieving for him,” said Mrs Kelly. “To have this happen on top of that was awful.”

Mrs Kelly was forced to stay with her neighbour for a week after the ordeal while police examined her home.

When she did eventually come back her friend stayed with her for a week, but the first night she was alone she was a nervous wreck and jumped at every noise.

Now, three months after the terrifying incident, Mrs Kelly said that her nerves are getting better, but she is still cautious when she hears noises.

“I’m just nervous all of the time,” she said. “I feel it in my stomach. But I’m not as bad now as I was when it happened.

“When they hit me with the hammer my arm was cut open and black and blue and it has never been the same since. I can hardly lift it now.”

She also hopes that by telling her story, it might help get her treasured belongings back.

One of the items of jewellery stolen was a clock pendant given to her by her husband. They also took a gold locket which was about 70 years old.

“I just want those things back,” she said. “They are items of jewellery which can’t be replaced.”

Police are still investigating the incident.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Capstick is keen to hear from anybody with information.

“I would love somebody to come forward with any information,” he said. “We will look at any intelligence and work with that and see if it fits with the information we have already got.”

Immediately after the incident a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary, but was later released without charge.

And six days after the attack, a 35-year-old man and a 41-year-old man from Whitehaven were arrested on suspicion of robbery.

The two men answered bail this month, but police said there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed with a case against them.

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