A knife-wielding thug who sexually assaulted a terrified 71-year-old Sheffield woman before stealing her wedding ring and £10 was today branded ‘sickening’ by police.
The pensioner was at her daughter’s home on Cobnar Drive, Norton Lees, when the man burst into the house and demanded money at knife-point.
“I have been in the force for 27 years and I have never come across an incident like this.”Detective Inspector Steve Ashmore
He then demanded the elderly woman’s wedding ring, before sexually assaulting her and fleeing with £10 and the ring leaving her badly ‘traumatised’. One detective said he had had never come across an attack like it in his 27 years on the force.
Detective Inspector Steve Ashmore said: “It’s sickening. To be honest, I was quite taken aback. It’s a very, very unusual incident and that’s not just being clichéd. “I have been in the force for 27 years and I have never come across an incident like this.”
“I felt for the lady. She really is a smashing lady, but obviously she has been traumatised.”
Det Insp Ashmore reassured the public they believed the attack – in broad daylight at about 10.30am on Tuesday – was a one-off.
He said: “I don’t think there’s somebody in the area who is predatory and planning to attack females in their home. I think it’s an opportunist crime that has gone much further than anyone imagined.
“The only advice I can give is age-old – to lock your doors even when you are at home.”
He added: “Our enquiries are really extensive, but we are confident that we are going to catch this person.
“We want to appeal for anyone that was in that area, in Cobnar Drive, Derbyshire Lane and possibly Graves Park. Also, it’s possible this man may have contacted a friend or someone who he told what happened.”
Det Chf Insp Zaf Ali added: “This was a horrific attack on an elderly woman in a relative’s home and we are taking this report incredibly seriously.
“Witnesses describe seeing a man in dark clothing in the area at the time, who appeared to be struggling with a heavy bag of some sort.”
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s shocking. I know the lady concerned. I’m very surprised because this is a nice area. People should be able to feel safe in their relative’s homes.
“The police have been round but they haven’t told us much. It’s awful.”
The attacker is described as white, 5ft 8ins to 5ft 10ins tall, medium to stocky build, and is believed to be aged between 40 and 60, but probably about 50, with a weathered appearance and a round face.
He is bald, with some hair around the sides of his head that is dark in colour. He is also believed to have heavy stubble around his mouth and is described as looking unkempt.
He was wearing glasses and dark clothing and spoke with a local accent.
Police appealed for anyone with information, or anyone who may have been offered a wedding ring for sale, to call 101 quoting incident 253 of March 17, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.