April 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, February 24, 2014
An 89-year-old woman beaten by a gang of burglars in her bungalow says she is determined to get home and live her life – because she was brought up “to be brave”.
Connie Hallford suffered a head injury after three men broke into her home in Arrowhead Drive, Lakenheath – where she has lived for 38 years – a week ago.
One of the men struck her to the ground, and Mrs Hallford, whose husband George died 12 years ago, is now being cared for in a care home following hospital treatment.
However, while admitting the ordeal had been frightening and that she was worried about returning home on her own, she said she wants to “get back on with life”.
She said: “We’re brave people in this country, don’t you think? In the war you’d have seen all that bravery. I was brought up like that.
“I’d rather get home and live my life. I’ll be 90 this year and I just want to live my life. I want to get on and get back on with the life I had.”
As she gave an account of the break-in yesterday, she admitted that while she enjoys living by herself, her ordeal has left her scared of returning home alone.
“I want to go back to put some of the things correct, you see. I’m hoping to go with somebody,” she said.
“I’m not going anywhere on my own. If I go and live there, which I should, I want somebody with me. I don’t want to be left on my own.”
She also said she was “very cross” and “won’t ever forgive” her attackers - one of who stayed with her while the other two rampaged through her home searching for money.
She said: “The two kept throwing things about. The other one stayed with me and asked ‘are you all right?’ I said ‘no, I’m bleeding from my head’. He didn’t look at me then, for a little while.
“He (another man) kept saying ‘money, money, have I got any money’? I said no – I’m a poor widow.
“The one who was with me, he stayed with me and was looking down at me – I think he felt sorry for me, judging by the look on his face. The other one was much kinder than the other two.”
The gang broke in through Mrs Hallford’s front door between 7.45pm and 8.05pm.
The 89-year-old, who turns 90 in September, stopped sorting out her monthly paperwork to confront the thieves, telling them to “clear off”.
Even after the attack, Mrs Hallford’s first thought was to sort out paperwork that was now covered in blood on the floor, which she did before calling the police. She said: “If I had a gun I might have shot them. I get very cross over that sort of thing.”
Mrs Hallford, who worked as an engineering tracer during the Second World War, and husband George, who worked at RAF Lakenheath as a caterer, moved to the area from Kent, to be nearer her mother and sister in Norfolk. Mrs Hallford’s sister died in 2012, and she has no children.
She said her new surroundings were “like a hotel” and that she had received gifts from people moved by her experience. She added: “I don’t know who they are. I’d like to thank them, but I don’t know how. It’s nice to think, with all these evil people, you’ve got all these kind people around.”
Detective Inspector David Giles said there had so far been a “disappointing” response to requests for information, and appealed directly to the man who stayed with Mrs Hallford to turn himself in.
Det Insp Giles said: “He has been a little more concerned and seen blood coming from her head. If you want to come forward and talk to us, we can factor that into our prosecution.
“It’s very spineless. We’ve seen Connie, she’s a very frail little lady who wouldn’t be able to offer any harm to those attacking her, so to attack her is beyond belief, really.”
Police have issued appeals for people who were in the area at the time to come forward, and are particularly keen to trace the occupants of a black Vauxhall car that was seen in the Back Street area of Lakenheath around 7.30pm.
Anyone with any information should call police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.