March 16 2014 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister, Senior Reporter
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
A 45-year-old man told how he feared he was going to die after a suspected drugs gang raided his home and viciously attacked him in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity.
Simon Leigh said one of the thugs grabbed him around the neck and pulled him to the ground during the terrifying assault in the back garden of his Chadwell Heath home at around 9pm on Sunday January 13.
A second man repeatedly kicked him in the head, while a third stood nearby brandishing a knife, the driving instructor said.
He believes the men thought the house contained a cannabis factory and was later told by police they could have been after drugs.
“They said something about weed and cash so they may have thought there was a farm here – which there definitely isn’t,” he said.
At one point during the assault, which went on for around five minutes, Mr Leigh, of Cornshaw Road, tried to grab a shovel to defend himself, but the man kicking him took the spade and smashed it into his legs, fracturing his left knee.
“They then saw one of my tenants through the window on the phone to police,” Mr Leigh explained. “The man strangling me dropped me, then the one kicking me whacked me on the back with the shovel.
“After that, all three went to the front door, kicked it down and one of them held a knife against my tenant’s neck.”
Police arrived soon after and the men ran off.
He was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he was treated for cuts. He will need further treatment for his knee and his wrist which may also have a fracture.
Mr Leigh, who opened the garden gate to the men after they rang the doorbell, said: “I’ve never seen people so aggressive and was sure that I was going to die right there.
“The guy who was strangling me had such a tight grip my sight was going weird.
“I’ve got quite good security as I was burgled last year, but I’m going to improve it even more now. I don’t want this to ever happen again.”
The suspects, who stole a mobile phone, are described as black males, aged between 17 and 22-years-old.
Barking and Dagenham robbery squad said no arrests had been made. They are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information that could help the investigation.
Call the robbery squad on 020 3276 1045 or Crimestopppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.