Robbers 'tied pensioner to stairlift'

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An elderly woman was tied to her stairlift with silver duct tape as robbers targeted her home.

Alice Turner, 74, had to chew through the tape to escape and alert police, a court has heard.

Preston crown court

Preston crown court

The disabled great grandmother had six money boxes containing £750 stolen during her ordeal at her home in Morecambe, less than a week before Christmas 2013.

The asthma and osteoporosis sufferer,who has six children, was threatened with having her finger cut off.

She was left with badly bruised arms and wrists after the robbery, in which a handbag containing a photograph of her late husband, Albert, was also taken.

Jurors at Preston Crown Court were told one man, Geoffrey Garth, 61, of Patterdale Road, Lancaster, had already pleaded guilty to robbery.

But a second man, Joseph Harkin, 55, of Keswick Road, Lancaster, denies the offence and is on trial.

Prosecuting, Neville Biddle cross examined a police officer who revealed two calls had been made to her home the day before the robbery, and one a few minutes before the robbery.

The calls had been made from Harkin's mobile phone.

However, the court heard, in a police interview about the alleged offence, Harkin said: " There's no way whatsoever I tied an old woman to her stairlift.

" My mum is 73 and there's no way in this world."

He went on to tell officers he had allowed a man called "Gaz", from whom he was buying cheap tobacco, to make a call from his phone.

Mr Biddle also said: "Enquiries with the Sainsbury's store in Morecambe revealed silver gaffer tape was sold from the store, and from ASDA on Ovangle Road on December 15."

The case continues.