A reward of up to £5,000 has been offered to catch the robbers who left a 93-year-old woman terrified and bruised during a violent break-in.
The pensioner, from Vauxhall in Liverpool, suffered bruising to her face during an hour-long ordeal at her home which saw £2,000 in cash stolen.
Robbers forced their way into the Herm Road home in the middle of the night and told their victim: ‘This is the way we make a living.’
Even when the great-grandmother-of-10 told them how old she was, the intruders replied: ‘Well, make sure you don’t f*g die on us then.’
The horrific robbery prompted Merseyside Police’s chief constable Andy Cooke to label the perpetrators ‘scum’, and a mystery entrepreneur offered a reward of up to £5,000 to catch them.
The victim’s daughter described how the incident had mentally scarred her mother, who hasn’t returned home since it happened in the early hours of March 4.
She said: ‘This is not just about my mum, but anyone else these awful people could do this to.
‘She had moved into my niece’s house, and then of course, Covid-19 happened.
‘My mum gets nightmares and wants to be back in her own home. It’s had a huge effect on her, if she hears a noise in the night, she is terrified.
‘It’s affected us all as a family, but there’s nothing we can do about it.’
The thugs brought tape in case they needed to bind it around the woman’s mouth, and one of them held his finger to her lips, ordering her to stay silent.
They bolted the front door after forcing their way inside through a kitchen entrance and turned off the electricity in the house.
They had brought tools and empty bin bags, in what appeared to be a targeted and highly-planned raid.
After they left, the shaken victim was left in the darkness, and had to shuffle down the stairs on her bottom to get to the landline phone and raise the alarm.
The fiercely independent pensioner, a mum-of-three who lost her husband in 2001, rang her 70-year-old daughter, and stuttered the words: ‘I’ve been burgled… three masked men.’
So far, no arrests have been made in the investigation, which saw the £2,000 in pension cash stolen, along with a handbag and credit cards.
It is understood detectives were set to close their enquiry, with dwindling hopes of catching those responsible.
But a businessman, who previously offered a £3,000 reward, has come forward once again to help with the hunt.
The entrepreneur, who wants to remain anonymous, has added an extra £2,000 onto that prize, meaning £5,000 is available to anyone who could provide crucial information to help prosecute the criminals.
Suggestions have been made regarding who might be responsible, and a name was passed to police, but nothing has come from that lead.
Officers now think the robbery was a professional job, with precious little forensic evidence left at the scene.
The victim is still paying rent on the empty home, where she had lived for 23 years, and wants to return in the future, although her family believe that looks increasingly unlikely.
It has also emerged how the cruel thugs thumbed through precious photo albums and emptied sentimental pictures onto the floor during the raid.
In recent weeks, the traumatised pensioner, a retired cleaner, has told her relatives: ‘I want to bed in my own home, but now I’ve lost it.
‘They’ve taken my home away from me, they’ve taken my security.’
Since the break-in, the traumatised grandmother-of-seven has occasionally had to share a bed with her niece.
Cops have carried out house-to-house enquiries, along with forensic and CCTV checks, but they have drawn a blank.
The businessman offering the reward said: ‘I don’t want this case to fade into the background. It’s really got under my skin.
‘I care for my very elderly mum, and I hate vulnerable people being targeted by these scallies who couldn’t hold their own with someone their own size.
‘I like to think I’m a good citizen and in a position to help financially – I wish I could do something else for the family. I really felt for them.’
Merseyside Police is unable to sanction the £5,000 reward, and the businessman has also had difficulty with Crimestoppers to organise the logistics.
Because of those hurdles, the company boss, who has contributed to rewards in other well-known Liverpool crime investigations, is offering to draw up a legally binding contract with his solicitor.
At the time, Chief Constable Cooke said: ‘This is horrendous. Please help us catch the scum who did this.
‘And don’t give me any of that “no grass culture” nonsense. This is a 93-year-old woman in her own house who should be afforded respect and dignity.
‘Someone knows who did this.’
A Merseyside Police spokesperson added: ‘Did you see someone acting suspiciously that night?
‘Did you capture CCTV or dashcam footage that you haven’t yet shared? Have you overheard someone talking about a similar incident since?