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Why me?

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Why me? thumbnail Clifford Mooney was described by his nephew Adrian Eakins as a “man who gets on with everyone”.

A PENSIONER who was tied and beaten with a claw hammer in his own bed by burglars, says they will not keep him out of his home.

Clifford Mooney, from Slieveshan Park in Kilkeel, was attacked in his home around midnight last Tuesday (28 March).

Speaking from his hospital bed, the 69- year-old said he was nervous about going home, but was "too independent" to go anywhere else.

"I am not going to let them put me out of my home. I will have to go home, but I will have to make it a bit safer," he said.

"The police said the door was not forced, so I don't know how they got in, but I don't think they could have got through the back door. " Mr Mooney had been at a prayer meeting earlier that evening and had returned home around 9.30pm, before heading to bed as normal.

However, around midnight he was awoken from his sleep by three strangers in his bedroom.

"When I first woke and I saw people there, I thought they were coming to tell me something about my family. Even when I realised it wasn't family, I was still trying to work out how they got in." His initial fears were soon confirmed when they began to attack him violently.

"They put a pillowcase over my head," he said. "Then they put a pillow over me and put the pillowcase back over me.

"They hit me with a claw hammer and tied a belt around my neck." Mr Mooney also had his legs and feet tied and when he shouted for help they began punching him.

"They pulled my mouth open and shoved a towel in my mouth. Every time I said something they jammed it down further.

I thought I was going to suffocate." As a result of his ordeal, Mr Mooney isn't able to eat and is only able to take some liquids through a straw.

He suffered facial injuries and has been left with a blackened and bruised eye, as well as bruising to his ribs, neck and back.

He told The Outlook he kept telling them he wasn't going to fight back and they could take whatever they wanted.

"I said to them they had no cause to harm me, I told them they did not have to injure me. I would say if they had not got anything, they might have gave me a worse going over." Mr Mooney said they took "a substantial sum of cash" amongst other possessions, including his wallet from his pocket, just days after he had collected his pension.

"I think they might have done all their breaking in while I was at the prayer meeting, because when I was in bed I did not hear a thing.

"They didn't steal my mobile, but I think that's because I have an app which can track the phone, so I would have been able to trace that." Mr Mooney's nephew, Adrian Eakins told The Outlook the trio "did not fear the law".

"He lives about 50 yards from the police station, which has a camera with a three-mile radius around Kilkeel and an infrared camera," said Mr Eakins.

Describing it as a "totally pointless and unprovoked attack" Mr Eakins said the family were doing whatever they could to help him.

"The pain of his injuries will heal but it's the pain in his head that will last, it's the memories of this that will hurt and haunt him.

"You would relive something like this yourself if it happened to you. He does not know if they are waiting on him to come home and attack him again.

"This is a man who gets on with everyone, he is not one of those neighbours from hell, he is a quiet man.

"He thought he was going to die. He is hoping they are caught by the police and that it won't happen to anyone else." Mr Mooney said he wanted the police to do all they could to track the culprits down.

"For someone else's sake I hope they are caught. I do not know why they did it but I do believe they could come and finish me off," he said.

After the three men left him, Mr Mooney remained bound, struggling to free himself.

"I waited about half an hour before I went downstairs, I was afraid they were there waiting to attack me again.

"After they left I managed to struggle out of the ties and got my trousers on and outside, I was never as glad to see an open door.

"I went to my neighbour's house and they rang the police. When the policewoman arrived and saw my eye, she rang for an ambulance." Mr Mooney has been in Daisy Hill Hospital since the incident, where the police have also been keeping in touch with him and he is hopeful those involved will be caught soon.

"They were clever enough that they didn't say anything while they were in the room, so I didn't hear any voices or accents, " he said.

"I am nervous about the police closing in on them and them thinking that I gave names or something and then they come back and finish me off." Mr Eakins said his uncle and all the family were very grateful for the support he has received.

"So many people have been in touch with me and asking how he is. They have been so supportive and all very keen to see how he is," he said.

"He has worked hard all his life and his taxes have paid for the benefits of these men who have robbed him. It's not right." Police are continuing to appeal for information in relation to the incident.

"Detective Constable Skillen said: "We received a report that two or three men entered the house of an elderly man sometime around midnight on Tuesday night (28 March).

"Once inside, the men tied up the resident, assaulted him and then covered his head with a pillowcase before proceeding to ransack the house, moving through several rooms looking through drawers and cupboards.

"The men stayed in the house for around 30 minutes and left the resident tied up in his bedroom when they left the property.

"He managed to free himself and raise the alarm through a neighbour. It is believed a sum of money has been taken at this time and the resident suffered facial and head injuries.

"An investigation into this incident is ongoing and I would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in or around the area of Slieveshan Park to contact detectives in Ardmore on 101 quoting reference number 43 29/03/17.

"Information can also be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

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