A brave pensioner has told how he stood up to the “vicious thugs” who held him at knifepoint while they ransacked his house.
CCTV footage shows how 80-year-old widower Eamonn Durcan tried to fight back before he was bundled by two masked men into his home on Lea Farm Drive on the Hawksworth estate in Leeds.
Once inside he was threatened and pinned down by one, who held a knife to his cheek. The pair escaped with cash and valuables – including wedding jewellery belonging to Mr Durcan’s late wife, Daphne.
But throughout the ten-minute ordeal the former HGV driver said he continued to try to fight to protect his home of 45 years.
“They were vicious thugs but I wasn’t about to be scared,” he said.
“Every chance I got, I lashed out. I hit one of them with an empty beer bottle.
“People have asked me why I tried to fight and told me I could have been hurt. But what did they expect me to do, hold them by the hand and let them help themselves?
“They didn’t hurt me physically, but they’ve hurt me mentally because they took things that were precious to me.”
Mr Durcan, a grandfather of two, was at home when a woman – dressed for a night out – came to his door asking to use his phone.
He refused and the woman, who is thought to have been an accomplice to the robbers, left.
Two minutes later Mr Durcan went outside to close his gate.
He said: “There was a car parked on the pavement. Suddenly the driver got out and he had a mask on and he jumped me.
“I was thinking, is someone having a laugh? But then the guy got out of the passenger seat and came for me. I realised this was the real thing.
“It was horrible. I kneed one of them in the groin, but I knew I was going to go down.”
Mr Durcan was pushed over and dragged into his house.
“They kept saying: ‘Where’s the money? Where’s the safe?’,” he said.
“I was telling them I didn’t have any but they wouldn’t believe me.”
The robbers took cash, a Panasonic television set, a Dell laptop, two mobile phones, a tablet computer and two watches.
But they also stole irreplaceable wedding and engagement rings, an eternity ring and a traditional Irish Claddagh ring with a shamrock on it.
Mr Durcan, who believes he was targeted, was taken to hospital as a precaution but was not seriously injured.
“I’m extremely angry about what happened and I want them caught,” he said.
Detective Constable Chris Lord, of Leeds District CID, said: “It is appalling that people would deliberately target a vulnerable old man in this way and I would urge anyone who knows the identity of those involved to contact us immediately.”
The woman was white, about 30 years-old, and about 5ft 4ins tall. She had shoulder-length, wavy ginger or blonde hair and was wearing high heels and a light-coloured dress.
Both men had handkerchiefs covering their faces and were wearing baseball caps turned backwards. One was white, about 5ft 6ins tall and wearing jeans. The other was about 6ft tall and slim.
The incident happened about 9.50pm on Thursday, April 17.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Det Con Lord at Leeds District CID via 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.