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
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.
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.
“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.