A CARER tied up with her elderly patient by a gang of robbers while they ransacked the rural property has told how she thought she would be killed by the men.
Vicki Stamp was dragged out of bed in the middle of the night while looking after 91-year-old June Langdon at The Dower House, Hambledon, in October 2014.
Miss Stamp, 28, spoke after Christopher Doughty, 54, was jailed for 16 years at Southampton Crown Court yesterday for the £100,000 aggravated burglary.
He was given a further five years, to run concurrently, for possession of a loaded shotgun.
It was revealed Doughty, of Holly Gardens, Southampton, is a career criminal who first appeared in court aged just 11.
Speaking about the ordeal, Miss Stamp said: ‘It was like in the movies.
‘It was so surreal, it was crazy. It was petrifying.
‘At first, I thought it was a bad dream. When I realised what was happening I was basically petrified. I feared for my life.
‘At the beginning I didn’t know what they were going to do.
‘You don’t expect it at all. It was just a normal night shift.’
The gang taped the women’s hands and eyes, tightly, and threatened to kill Mrs Langdon’s pet dog unless she revealed where the valuables were.
They ripped rings from her fingers, including her wedding ring.
Miss Stamp said when they were tied up questions ran through her mind.
‘Were they going to kill us?’ she said.
‘What are they going to take? We just didn’t know.’
‘The waking up bit was the most terrifying thing.
‘After that it went really slow, but I’ve tried to forget about it.
‘It was just looking up at those eyes.
‘For the first six months after, it was horrendous.
‘I have not been able to do nights.
‘I have not been able to go out myself at night-time.
‘Even when I do nights now, I freak myself out.
‘I lock the doors behind me. Night time is not a good time.’
Vicki has been a carer for 10 years.
She said: ‘I feel lucky to be alive and that they did not kill us. With everything you hear on the news, we were quite lucky.’
Doughty was only caught because of a fingerprint on a door handle. None of his balaclava-clad accomplices were traced.
Mrs Langdon’s son John said his mother had been affected by the burglary.
‘She’s much more insecure about things.
‘Until recently she thought the best of everybody and now she sees everyone as a potential suspect.
‘If you’ve been brought up in a period when you trust in everybody and leave your front door open, only to discover that somebody came in the middle of the night dressed in black and tied you up and the person there to be your carer, it makes you much more insecure.’
He added: ‘Surely you can make a decent living by doing a decent job without robbing old people, threatening them and smashing their houses up?
‘I believe in life people get their just deserts.’
Jailing him for the burglary Gary Burrell QC said both women were terrified and distressed and added: ‘Which is hardly surprising given the ordeal they were subjected to.’
Branding doughty ‘dangerous’, Judge Burrell QC said he posed a significant risk to the public and said if a previous 15 year sentence for a similar burglary, in Aldsworth in 2006, did not put him off, nothing would.
He added: ‘You will be a much, much older man by the time the parole board consider your case.
‘I hope, for the sake of the public, and for the sake of your own family who have suffered as a result of your exploits, by then you will have hung up your balaclava. But time will tell.’