Northern Ireland

Bertie Acheson's family heartbroken over killing

The daughter of a 72-year-old man who died after confronting a burglar at his Coleraine home has spoken of her family's heartbreak.

Bertie Acheson was assaulted by a man who broke into his house in Glenmore Gardens at about 01:30 BST on Monday.

The police said he suffered a heart attack brought on by stress.

His daughter, Sandra Creelman, said her mother was distraught. She said the burglar had "ruined so many lives in the space of half an hour".

Detectives are treating his death as murder.

Mrs Creelman described her father as a "private and unassuming" man who "put everybody before himself".

"How can I ever come to terms with how my father was brutally attacked and killed in his own home?" she said.

"How can I watch my mother's heartbreak, knowing that I can do nothing to make it better?

"You expect to lose your parents as they get older; never in a million years do you expect to lose them like this, never, ever. It's just a nightmare."

During the ordeal, the intruder threatened Mr Acheson's 70-year-old wife, Sheila, before escaping with £375.

Mrs Acheson suffers from mobility problems and her husband was her main carer. The couple had been together for 44 years.

Her daughter said it had been a "terrifying ordeal" for her mother, who was now too afraid to return to her home.

"She is devastated, numb. He (the intruder) has taken everything," she said.

Image caption Bertie Acheson, who died after a confrontation with a burglar, pictured with his wife, Sheila

"If he could be here and see what he has done, all for nothing. It was pointless and needless.

"These have been the longest and the hardest days of our lives and there will be many more to come. Right now it feels like the pain will never go away."

Sandra's husband, Keith, said Mrs Acheson's red purse had been taken during the burglary and pointed out this could be "crucial" to finding the intruder.

"Our family is completely distraught," he said. "We don't want this to happen to someone else.

"So please, if anyone knows who this is, or if you find this purse in your bin or take a look in your garden, then please contact the police as soon as you can, so that this won't happen to any other vulnerable, old couple."

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