90-year-old burglary victim who was attacked in her west Suffolk home hopes police catch the culprits
PUBLISHED: 10:06 10 March 2015 | UPDATED: 10:43 10 March 2015
A widow who was beaten by burglars in her own home just over a year ago has spoken of how lonely she feels following the attack.
Connie Hallford, 90, from west Suffolk, spoke to the EADT about her desire for the culprits to be caught as Suffolk police revealed they are yet to arrest anyone in connection with the crime and had exhausted all reasonable lines of inquiry.
Back in her own house following six months in a care home, Mrs Hallford is keen to put the ordeal behind her, but did express her loneliness at having no close friends or family nearby.
This newspaper is working with the charity Age UK Suffolk to make sure older people in the county do not feel as lonely in 2015 through the Shine a Light on Loneliness campaign.
After this newspaper approached Age UK Suffolk on Mrs Hallford’s behalf, the charity has been in contact with her and an advisor will visit her today.
Detective Chief Inspector David Giles, senior investigating officer for Mrs Hallford’s case, is renewing the appeal for information in connection with the burglary on the evening of February 17 last year.
She suffered a head injury when one of the three men struck her to the ground, and was moved to a care home following hospital treatment.
Mrs Hallford said: “I reckon it would be a good idea if they [the police] carry on in case they do it to somebody else.
“I have watched Crimewatch and a lot of people at that time had their doors busted open and they said some of these people would never forget it and it would be on their mind all their life. It’s not on mine - I’m clearing it off - but I understand some people would have it on their mind all their life and worry about it.”
Mrs Hallford said she had “almost forgotten” about the attack and had been doing “alright”.
While very complimentary about the care home in Haverhill, she said she did prefer to be in her own home.
“It’s rather lonely,” she added. “I haven’t got anyone much, but then I was lonely before that happened.”
She said her sister passed away in 2012 and she has no children.
Initially, the police had been very supportive, Mrs Hallford said, including arranging for security measures at her property, but she said the contact had tailed off.
Det Ch Insp Giles, Detective Chief Inspector for protecting vulnerable people, said: “We give victims good support and we aim to update victims regularly, but equally, as with everything in life, there has to be an exit strategy and at some point we say ‘that’s the end of the contact unless new information comes to light’. I know that happened with Connie after several months.”
But he said the police had arranged for her overgrown front garden to be cleared so her front door was not concealed from the street and had orchestrated for her to have new windows and doors, and an alarm fitted.
He said they had run out of lines of inquiry, adding Crimewatch had not taken the appeal forward, but the case was very much open.
“We put so much time into that crime. It was an awful crime and I absolutely wish we could solve it.”
Police are keen for anyone in the area at the time of the burglary 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.
Age UK Suffolk panel
Helen Taylor, information service lead and operations manager north at Age UK Suffolk, said: “The after-effects from being a victim of crime can last well beyond the actual event.
“We offer advice and information to older people across Suffolk irrespective of their situation. Helping older people retain choice and control over their lives is central to all of our work.
“Our home-visiting services such as befriending and our home help service can give regular social contact to people who may not have friends or family nearby.
“We also offer an information and advice service, day clubs, benefits advice and we have three walk-in information help centres in Suffolk. The Shine a Light on Loneliness campaign this year has helped us spread the word so that people know we are here to help as and if they need our support.”
People can contact the Age UK Suffolk advice line on 01473 351234, open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.