independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Widow who had cancer operation is beaten by burglary gang in her home

AN ELDERLY widow recovering from a cancer operation has vowed to stay in her home after being beaten by burglars during an “evil” attack.

German national Heike Mueller (75) was at her home near Kerrykeel on Donegal’s Fanad peninsula when the three-man gang struck.

The retired NATO official and former solicitor moved to Ireland two decades ago – and has vowed to stay here despite the attack.

She has been in remission from cancer since a life-saving operation five months ago.

“I have lived here for all this time and nothing like this has ever happened to me,” she said.

“I came here on a cheap flight from Germany where you had to stay for 10 days and I ended up staying here.

“I walked into this house and knew this is where I would stay and I am going to stay now.”

Ms Mueller said three men were at the door when she went to answer it.

“They pushed me to the ground and hit me. They grabbed me by the arms and shook me and demanded money. They were very aggressive,” she said.

“I tried to kick and hit them back but they kept shaking me.

“They left me with bruises on my face and there are marks on my arms because they were holding me so tight.”

Ms Mueller is well-known in the north-west, where she works as an alternative medicine healer. But she said the gang picked on the wrong person.

“I don’t have a car, I don’t have a television and I have nothing of value,” she said.

“As it happens, this month I didn’t get my pension. I get paid from Germany and it was sent back there by mistake by the bank because of some glitch, so I literally didn’t have a cent in the house.”

 “It has left me very badly shaken. It is more than terrifying when this happens to you, and I am very very frightened still. It is worse than that.

“They ripped out the telephone so I couldn’t use my panic alarm, but thank God for my neighbours who have been brilliant. They were able to call the gardai.

“This happened to me just a few months after I had an operation for cancer. This should not happen.”

Ms Mueller was one of two pensioners targeted by burglars in Co Donegal at the weekend.

An 88-year-old woman in Glengad on the Inishowen peninsula returned home from weekend Mass to find her home ransacked.

Christmas presents were among the items stolen.

Local people have put up a €1,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of those responsible.

Insp Michael Harrison described the attacks as “evil”.

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