A widow who was tied up and robbed in her Sheffield home by three hooded raiders high on drugs has been left so terrified she has put her house up for sale.
The 69-year-old, who had retired to Bradfield especially to be near family, was listening to Desert Island Discs on the radio while doing housework and hanging out the washing when she was attacked at her isolated home a mile from any neighbours.
Three thugs – Jordan Gregory, 21, and James Godbehere and Hayden Pitcher, both 22 – approached the house in single file wearing hoods and gloves and, as the woman shouted at them to demand what they were doing, one kicked open the porch door.
Godbehere got behind the woman and put his hands over her mouth before pushing her into the hall.
One of the thugs said: “We’re not going to hurt you” as the pensioner was marched into her downstairs toilet by Godbehere while the other two tied her up with shoelaces from her own walking boots.
Stephanie Hollis, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court: “She was extremely scared and feared the worst.”
Two of the yobs went upstairs to steal property including the woman’s engagement ring, while the third stood guard over her. Then they shoved a rocking chair against the toilet door and disconnected the phone so she could not raise the alarm.
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Miss Hollis said the woman eventually managed to free herself and call the police.
She found her purse had been rifled through, and her bank cards and TV had been taken.
But the burglars’ car had been spotted by a neighbour, and it was traced back to Godbehere. He was seen on CCTV later that morning trying to sell the woman’s belongings at a Cash Converters shop in Rotherham.
Gregory and Pitcher were caught through DNA they left on the laces.
Gregory, of Wordsworth Avenue, Southey Green, Godbehere, of Salt Box Grove, Grenoside, and Pitcher, of Bankfield Road, Hillsborough, all admitted burglary and false imprisonment and were each jailed for three years.
Miss Hollis said all three had been smoking cannabis before the raid on March 25.
When Godbehere was asked by police why the pensioner was tied up ‘he began to laugh’, she added.
In a victim impact statement read aloud to the court, the OAP said she had loved her home and huge garden.
“I was extremely happy here but that is no longer the case,” she said. “I have put my home up for sale and am desperate to move out.”
She said she now takes sleeping tablets and keeps the lights on in the house.
“I just don’t feel safe any more,” she added.