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Tuesday 23 October 2018

Gang that left widow (83) injured in horrific raid may have travelled across Border

Police collect evidence at the scene of the burglary in Aughnacloy. Photo: Alan Lewis
Police collect evidence at the scene of the burglary in Aughnacloy. Photo: Alan Lewis

David Young

The gang responsible for a horrific raid on the home of an 83-year-old woman in Co Tyrone may have travelled across the Border to carry out the burglary, police believe.

Pat Davidson (83) is in a critical condition in hospital following the raid at in Aughnacloy on Tuesday. Gardaí are helping the PSNI with its investigation into the burglary of Ms Davidson's home.

The vulnerable widow is in an induced coma in hospital after she fell from an upstairs window as a gang of burglars raided her property.

Police confirmed that she suffered a fractured skull, spine and pelvis.

She was found screaming in pain lying below an open upstairs window of her house in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, at about 9pm on Tuesday by a neighbour who disturbed the four burglars as they ransacked the property on Sydney Street.

The suspects made off in a black car in the direction of Moore Street.

Officers are treating the incident as attempted murder, with the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch having taken on the investigation.

Yesterday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said the pensioner was "critically ill, but stable".

Detectives are linking the raid on Ms Davidson's home to three other burglaries also near the Border on Tuesday night.

They believe the criminal gang could have travelled from the Irish Republic and Garda colleagues are helping the investigation.

The other burglaries happened at Aghaloo Close in Aughnacloy, Richmond Park in Ballygawley and McDowell Terrace in Seskinore.

As some of those homes were not owned by older people, police do not believe the raiders targeted Ms Davidson's house specifically because of her age.

Officers have made an appeal regarding two vehicles, both of which they believe were carrying false plates.

They are seeking information about a dark-coloured car registration GK56 AEG and a silver car, possibly a Ford Focus, with registration 06WX 6313.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: "We are continuing to investigate this appalling incident in which a vulnerable 83-year-old woman sustained serious injuries and the other burglaries which we believe are linked.

"We have made progress and would now like to make a specific appeal for anyone who has information about two cars which may have been in the location of the burglaries over recent days."

Reverend Ian McKee, minister of Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church, said Ms Davidson's two sons had been left in a very distressed state.

"People are absolutely gobsmacked that this has happened and that people, for personal and selfish gain, could cause such terrible injuries to an elderly lady, living alone minding her own business.

"It's just awful," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

He added: "While burglaries are not uncommon, for something like this to happen in our little town, folk really cannot take it in.

"She is a member of my congregation, I have been minister in Aughnacloy for six years and Pat is a member of my church and a well-respected lady in the town."

Irish Independent

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