AN elderly couple have told of their terrifying ordeal at the hands of masked raiders who tied them up and threatened to cut off their hands unless they handed over cash and jewellery.
Harry Carrick and Sylvia Everett were watching television in their living room on Saturday evening when just after 6pm three men wearing balaclavas burst into their home in Laburnum Grove, Cleadon, South Tyneside.
The masked men rammed pillowcases over their heads before binding their arms and pushing them to the floor.
Frail Mr Carrick, 78, who suffers from asthma and had only been out of hospital two days after undergoing treatment for a serious chest infection, was left with painful bruising from the attack.
Now as detectives appeal for information to help capture the three men, the great-grandparents have spoken out in the hope people will come forward with information.
“I was sitting doing the crossword and Harry was eating some ginger snaps with his coffee and watching television when these three thugs with balaclavas and pillowcases in their hands came running in the house. I thought it was some kind of joke,” said Sylvia, 75.
“They shouted at me to ‘shut my mouth’ and used the most foul language. They yanked the jewellery off my neck. I pleaded for them to at least leave my locket that I’ve worn for 20 years, but they shouted at me to shut up or they would ‘kick my head in’. They shoved the pillowcases over our heads and tied my hands and feet, it was really tight and cutting into my wrists.
“I shouted for them to leave Harry alone, I said: ‘he’s just come out of hospital, he won’t be able to breathe, you’re going to murder him’.
“Then they told Harry if he didn’t get the key to the safe they’d cut my fingers off.
“They kept us there for about an hour while they went through the whole house. At one point I could hear the sound of a bag being unzipped. I thought they were going to put our bodies in it. I thought we were going to die.”