Hammer-wielding intruders make vile threat to pensioner

Connor Browitt
Connor Browitt
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A WIGAN pensioner was attacked with a hammer in a terrifying home raid by a masked gang who threatened to rape his niece.

One of the intruders, Connor Browitt, was armed with a claw hammer and crowbar, and he repeatedly struck householder William Westhead leaving him lying semi-conscious.

His petrified wife Carol locked herself in her en-suite bathroom but when Browitt came into her bedroom she took four gold rings from her fingers, including her grandmother’s wedding ring, and handed them over along with £80 cash hoping to end the family’s ordeal.

Meanwhile Browitt’s accomplices had dragged the couple’s niece from her bedroom after Browitt threatened she would be raped if they did not reveal where they had cash.

Only Browitt was arrested for the early morning attack in Wigan - after the victim’s blood was found on his glove - and sentencing him to nine years’ detention, a judge said that the sleeping family “were awoken into a waking nightmare.”

It had been a targeted raid with one of the gang saying “we have been told you have got money” and Mr Westhead, who is in his late 60s, was attacked with the hammer while he lay helpless on the landing, said Judge Brian Lewis.

It was only “by good fortune” that he was not more seriously injured and it was “a quite appalling aggravating feature” that he was told his niece would be raped unless cash was handed over.