Strabane man Pat Gillespie, 100, describes robbers as 'scum'

Media caption,
Pat Gillespie said he would not live in fear or "let anyone get me down"

A 100-year-old man who was robbed by masked men in his home described his attackers as "scum" but vowed to bounce back from his frightening ordeal.

Pat Gillespie was pinned to a chair as three burglars ransacked his home in Railway Street, Strabane, on Friday.

They broken in through a back window and stole £500 from his pension money.

The centenarian, who still regularly rides bikes, said he was determined not to live in fear after the burglary or "let anyone get me down".

Image caption,
He was back on his bike when the BBC visited his home on Monday

However, Mr Gillespie described his experience at the time as "very, very frightening".

"You could just see their eyes, they were very heavily masked," he told BBC News NI.

'I couldn't move'

The pensioner had been watching television when the burglars forced their way into his home at about 21:30 BST on Friday.

"All of a sudden three fairly big, hefty men came buzzing past me," he said.

"Two flew by me and went through the kitchen while the other stood behind me and put his full weight on my shoulders so I couldn't move."

Mr Gillespie said the man who was holding him "turned my head very roughly towards the television" as the other two men ransacked his bedroom.

"They just wrecked it, every drawer in the place was just emptied onto the floor," he said.

Image caption,
Pat Gillespie, 100, was pinned to a chair as three men ransacked his home

"After five or six minutes, the other two came back into the kitchen where I was sitting, and the third man was behind me.

"They practically lifted me up by the trousers, off the ground."

The burglars searched through the pensioner's pockets and stole more than £500 in cash.

"The money's gone... and I'll miss it," said Mr Gillespie.

'Absolute scum'

The pensioner said he felt "powerless" throughout the ordeal.

He added that the robbers did not speak during the raid and appeared to have some prior knowledge of the area.

Image caption,
The pensioner has lived an active life and won many trophies for powerboat racing

The masked gang also removed his personal alarm before leaving Mr Gillespie's home.

PSNI Detective Constable Richard Donnell said the attack was "disgusting and cowardly".

"Thankfully, the man was not physically injured during the incident, however, he has been left shaken by the ordeal," he said.

Mr Gillespie spent years of his life organising carnivals in Strabane and raising thousands of pounds for charity, including BBC Children in Need.

The father of eight is also a former powerboat racer and has a large collection of trophies he won for the sport in his living room.

The pensioner vowed that despite his ordeal, he would not be scared out of his home.

'Another 100'

"I'm still riding about on a bicycle," he told BBC News NI.

"As soon as I'm finished talking to you, I'm going out on my bicycle and that's it.

"I'm not going to let anybody get me down."

The centenarian will celebrate his 101st birthday in December.

"I'm heading for another 100," Mr Gillespie joked.