Gang of intruders hold Gospel Oak great-grandad hostage screaming ‘Where’s the gold?’

PUBLISHED: 10:29 26 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:29 26 February 2015

Peter Handley, 80, pictured with his great-grandson George, was held hostage by intruders who stole his distinctive gold Buddha necklace

Peter Handley, 80, pictured with his great-grandson George, was held hostage by intruders who stole his distinctive gold Buddha necklace


A gang of masked intruders held an 80-year-old great-grandfather hostage and ransacked his home, leaving the disabled pensioner in fear of his life.

The intruders also stole Peter Handley's gold rings (pictured)The intruders also stole Peter Handley's gold rings (pictured)

Former railway guard Peter Handley was asleep on the sofa when four thugs broke into his Gospel Oak flat using a crowbar at about 9.20pm on Sunday.

One of the burglars shoved the pensioner to the floor while another climbed through the window screaming “Where’s the gold?”.

During a terrifying 15-minute ordeal Mr Handley was held hostage while the men stole his gold jewellery, including a unique Buddha pendant commemorating his late brother who was killed in the Second World War.

He fears the gang could seriously injure someone else.

Four thugs smashed their way into Peter Handley's Gospel Oak flat using a crow bar. Picture: Nigel SuttonFour thugs smashed their way into Peter Handley's Gospel Oak flat using a crow bar. Picture: Nigel Sutton

“I don’t like people being in prison, but I’d like them to get caught, put away, so they can’t go around doing it to anybody else,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind they could end up killing somebody.”

Mr Handley’s wallet, gold rings and his Ray-Ban sunglasses were also stolen during the burglary before the intruders left through the front door and escaped by car.

Daughter Sara Handley, 54, described the moment the raider’s struck at her father’s council flat in Mansfield Road, in what he believes was a pre-planned attack.

“He fell asleep on the sofa and all of a sudden he heard a noise and it woke him up,” she said.

“As he woke up they smashed the window and jumped straight through it, four masked men with hoods and scarves tied around their faces. The first man pushed him and said ‘Stay down, I don’t want to hurt you’, but as the other one came through the window he put his fist underneath his chin and said ‘No but I will’.

“As soon as the second guy came through the window, he was screaming ‘Where’s the gold?’.”

Mr Handley, who has had knee and should replacements, was bruised during the attack but was otherwise unharmed.

He now feels unsafe in his home of more than a decade and may move into sheltered accommodation. He is also desperate for the stolen gold jewellery to be returned.

The distinctive Buddha pendant was given to him during a trip to Thailand 20 years ago to visit the grave of his brother, who had been a Japanese prisoner of war.

“They also took a ring that my grandmother had given him,” said his daughter. “They’re all passed away now. You can’t replace that stuff. It’s unbelievable what they’ve done. To go into an elderly person’s house like that, it’s lower than low.”

Police are investigating and have described the suspects as four black males.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Camden CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 15:46

With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe expecting to spend her third Christmas in Evin prison, the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt used a visit to Iran to slam the middle-eastern nation’s imprisonment of UK dual nationals including the West Hampstead mum.

Yesterday, 15:28

Police want the public’s help to identify a man wanted over two Golders Green burglaries.

Yesterday, 12:08

Dawn Barnes will be looking to upset the odds as she has been reselected as Lib Dem candidate for the Hornsey and Wood Green seat.

Yesterday, 10:23

Eastenders actor and Celebrity Masterchef winner John Partridge will be switching on the Archway Christmas lights.

Yesterday, 09:29

Hampstead’s Lisa Deaner, 54, has been shortlisted for an Anthony Nolan Supporters award by the blood cancer charity.

Yesterday, 07:00

Save Swiss Cottage is crowdfunding for a judicial review into Camden Council’s decision to approve the Construction Management Plan (CMP) for 100 Avenue Road last week.

Mon, 16:55

A workshop owner who engraves benches on Hampstead Heath was forced to break in to his own business to retrieve machinery after the landlord changed the locks and evicted him over unpaid rent.

Mon, 14:00

Champagne corks were popped on Saturday as the well-known former Blustons clothes store in Kentish Town has been re-opened as a vintage charity shop.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now