Outrage after thieves target 101-year-old Strabane man

Pat Gillespie.
Pat Gillespie.

There has been outrage after a 101-year-old Strabane man was subjected to a robbery in his home.

The victim of the burglary has been named by local politicians as Pat Gillespie, a well-known figure in the area.

A statement from the PSNI read: "Detectives in Strabane are appealing for witnesses following a report of a burglary at a house in the Railway Street area of the town last night, Friday October 27."

Detective Constable Richard Donnell said: "Police received at a report just after 9:30pm that earlier that evening the occupant of the house, an elderly male, was confronted by three men who had forced their way through a back window.

"This was a disgusting and cowardly attack in which the intruders left with a quantity of cash.

"Thankfully, the man was not physically injured during the incident, however he has been left shaken by the ordeal.

"We are appealing for anyone who was in the Railway Street area last night and saw anything suspicious to contact detectives at Strabane Criminal Investigation Unit on the non-emergency number, quoting reference 1623 27/10/17, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

The entire community has been left "angered, shocked and determined to find those responsible", according to SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan.

“Pat is one of life’s great characters, independent and full of life and energy. At 101 nothing holds him back, not even these cowards," he added.

“A very generous local business man, angered and frustrated, has come forward and offered a cash reward to anyone who can bring forward information which will lead to the conviction of those responsible.

“Someone knows something about this; if you noticed anything at all on Railway Street last night, step forward with the information.

“Strabane people are at our best when we pull together and help each other. Let’s send a message of zero tolerance to those responsible.”

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Michaela Boyle said people had expressed "revulsion" at the news of Mr Gillespie's ordeal.

“It is heart-breaking to think that Pat, who has been so selfless in giving of himself to the community and civic life of this town down through the years, has fallen victim to criminals whose sole motivation is pure greed," she added.

“I would appeal to anyone who has information about this sickening robbery to contact the authorities so that whoever was responsible can be brought before the courts.

“Finally, I wish Pat a speedy recovery from the terrible ordeal he has suffered."