Thieves force two elderly sisters into small pantry for 36 hours


Gardai in Co Limerick yesterday appealed to the public for information about thieves who robbed two elderly sisters and confined them in a pantry for 36 hours.

Gardai in Newcastle West interviewed the women yesterday to get a description of the two attackers, believed to be in their 20s.

House-to-house inquiries were also carried out and an appeal was made for anybody who noticed anything suspicious to come forward.

"We are trying to get in touch with anyone who would have been seen watching elderly people in the area or observing the house," Insp Joe Roe said.

It is believed the raiders entered the house from fields at the rear.

The women were confined in a six feet by three feet pantry after their home was raided by the two young men in the early hours of Sunday morning.

They were being cared for by relatives yesterday following their discharge from hospital.

Ms Josephine Liston (84), and her sister, Bridget (89), were preparing for bed when they were surprised by two intruders, one of whom entered their semidetached home at Beechwood Gardens by forcing the rear sitting-room window.

They forced the women to enter the pantry underneath the stairs and left them with one chair. The door was left ajar, held in position by the kitchen table. The house was ransacked and a few hundred pounds was stolen.

The women were freed when Ms Josephine Liston's son, Mr Michael Liston, an auctioneer in Newcastle West, called to the house at about 6 p.m. on Monday.

The women were not physically hurt but were shocked by the experience. They were examined by a GP before being brought to Limerick Regional Hospital. Ms Josephine Liston, a diabetic, was detained overnight for observation but was described as comfortable by a hospital spokeswoman yesterday.

Insp Roe said it was a testament to the women's good health that they had come through the experience so well.

Although there was food and drink in the pantry, the women said they did not eat anything. "Possibly the availability of food was comfort enough to them," he said.

Neighbours said the two sisters had lived in the house for about 20 years. There had never been trouble before in the estate, which has 54 houses.

Ms Josephine Liston had returned from Mass on the evening of the attack.

An elderly friend had left the house about half-an-hour before the robbery. The family living next door said people only became aware of the attack after a Garda car and an ambulance appeared on Monday evening.

The older of the sisters is known affectionately in the area as Auntie B. Gardai have appealed for people to call on elderly neighbours and relatives over Christmas.