Pensioner hospitalised after burglary at Shankill home

Josie Hamilton, pictured at her home in Belfast in 2011
Josie Hamilton, pictured at her home in Belfast in 2011

An 87-year-old woman was said to have been slapped and pushed by burglars as she was robbed for the third time in around the last three years.

Josie Hamilton, from Lyle Court on Belfast’s Shankill Road, was robbed by three men on Wednesday evening before 7pm.

The gang stole a sum of money and a bank card.

A PSNI spokesman said the pensioner had been left shaken by the incident.

On Wednesday night she was taken to the Mater hospital, where on Thursday a Belfast Trust spokesman said she was “stable”.

Lower Shankill Community Association project worker Ian McLaughlin said: “This is the third time Josie has been targeted.

“In 2011 she was attacked in the street when she was thrown to the ground by a young person who stole her handbag.

“Then in October 2012 she was contacted at home by a so-called good samaritan who called with a basket of fruit and said he robbed her a year ago and wanted to bring her money back.

“She let him in and he robbed her again.

“And then last night three males ransacked her bedroom, slapped her and pushed her to the floor.”

Urging anyone with information about the incident to contact the PSNI, Mr McLaughlin added: “We supported Josie the last time she was burgled and now as a community we need to try to make her feel safe in her own home.

“I am sure she is at her wits end.”

North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey also condemned the criminals who robbed Mrs Hamilton.

He said the fact she has been burgled previously make it “all the more appalling that she has been targeted once again”.

He said it is “hard to comprehend the depravity” of those who would target a “defenceless senior citizen”.

“I urge anyone who can assist the police to catch those responsible to pass on any information they have without delay,” he added.

“I wish to commend the neighbours who helped her after she called with them in distress.

“This lady is well known in the local community and has lived in the Shankill area all her life.”

He called for the elderly to increase their vigilance and for “residents to keep an eye out particularly for their elderly neighbours”.