An 89-year-old widow attacked as three masked men forced their way into her Lakenheath home on Monday says she is scared of being left alone ‘in case anyone comes back’.
Connie Hallford was sorting through some paperwork when, between 7.45pm and 8.05pm, she heard a ‘bang, bang, bang’ at the door of her Arrowhead Drive home.
She went to investigate and was confronted by her door falling to the ground and three dark-clothed men who had their faces covered.
“They bashed it right down with a terrific bang - I don’t know if all three did it or just one - and then the glass that’s in the window in the top, that all shattered,” she said, adding that the men then forced their way into her home.
One of the intruders hit her with a blunt object, knocking her to the floor and causing blood to rush from a gash on her head the size of a 50p piece.
“They said have you got any money? We want some money. And I said no I haven’t got any because I’m just a poor widow,” said Connie, who has lived alone since her husband, George, who used to work at RAF Lakenheath, died in 2000.
They searched her home, even her settee and armchair, and threw things around before finally leaving through the back door.
Connie, who turns 90 in September, quickly dialled police on 999 and was taken by ambulance to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, where she was kept in overnight.
She has not yet returned to the home she and George had built 38 years ago.
“If I do go and live there again I want someone near me because I don’t want to be left on my own, in case anyone comes back,” she said.
Detective Inspector David Giles called the attack on Connie ‘spineless’ and said it would have a ‘lifelong affect on her’.
“She’s a very frail little lady and wouldn’t be able to offer any harm to anyone attacking her, so to actually assault her in her own house is beyond belief really,” he said.
He added: “Unfortunately there have not been many calls from members of the public, which is very disappointing. I’d renew our appeal for witnesses to come forward and give us information, however small.”
He also asked people to be on the look out for anything that may have been discarded around the village.
The three men wore dark clothes, spoke with English accents and had their faces covered.
Police have asked for anyone in the area between 7.30-8.30pm on Monday to come forward as they may have information that can help.
They also want to trace the occupants of a black Vauxhall car - believed to be three men - seen ‘acting suspiciously’ in the Black Lane area of Lakenheath around 7.30pm.
“If you’re innocent, just please come forward so I can eliminate you from the enquiry,” said Det Insp Giles.
Connie said she thought one of the burglars felt sorry for her and seemed concerned about her bleeding, asking if she was alright.
In a separate plea to that man, Det Insp Giles said: “If you want to come forward and talk to us we can factor that into any prosecution.”
Connie, whose head is still sore from the attack, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers who have expressed their sympathy by sending flowers, chocolates and even a teddy bear.
Thanking them, she said: “It’s nice to think that with all the evil people around, you have all these kind people that are so thoughtful.”
On Twitter today, Douglas Paxton, Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, wished ‘best wishes to Connie’ after visiting the Lakenheath crime scene.
Anyone with information should contact Suffolk Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.