Panic button saves couple from thugs

2014-08-18 00:00

A MOUNT Michael couple believe a panic button saved them from serious harm at the hands of knife-wielding home invaders at the weekend.

Tony Dempster (70), a medical doctor, and his wife, Jeannie (54), were watching television at 7.15 pm on Friday when the gang of five entered their property.

Tony Dempster told The Witness that their four dogs started “going a bit ballistic” and he went outside with a torch to investigate.

“Suddenly, there was this guy behind me and he grabbed me. I threw him to the ground and started grappling with him … he was on top of me and he had a knife.”

He said although everything was “a bit of a blur”, he became aware of four other robbers entering the house.

Luckily his wife managed to press a panic button, setting off their house alarm, before being overpowered by a man armed with a screwdriver.

“She suffered a minor laceration to her hand, possibly when the chap ripped the phone out of her hand. The alarm company called and she tried to answer the phone,” said Dempster.

“She was manhandled into the lounge. They kept asking: ‘Where’s the cash, where’s the cash?’ They tore the television out of its connection and picked up some laptops … One of them ran and got my wife’s laptop from the other room, almost as if they knew it was there,” said Dempster.

He said the gang grabbed whatever valuables they could in their rush to get away.

Dempster said while he was struggling outside with the assailant — who wore a balaclava — another man picked up an iron beam in the yard and began “waving it around”.

“I think it was probably too heavy for him to swing around,” he said.

He was not injured apart from “a couple of bruises and scrapes”.

He said within minutes the gang had taken what they could get and had fled on foot. Police dogs later tracked them to the main road where they must have driven off in a vehicle.

Dempster said he and his wife had lived on their property for 25 years. Lately, there have been multiple burglaries in the area.

“I don’t think there is anyone in this road who hasn’t lost some stuff [to burglars],” he said.

“But never in my wildest dreams did I expect something like this to happen. It was a risk going outside, but you don’t expect a gang to come for you like that,” he said, adding that they would re-assess their security in the wake of the incident.

“If my wife hadn’t managed to press the panic button, I hate to think what could have happened,” he said.

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