Frail pensioner is attacked by strangulation robbers in Brondesbury Park
PUBLISHED: 17:55 26 February 2016 | UPDATED: 18:11 26 February 2016
A chronically-ill disabled pensioner in Brondesbury Park has spoken about her ordeal after she was targeted by robbers who tried to strangle her in her housing block.
Essa Stoneburg, who weighs just SIX stone, was attacked by the cowardly pair when she entered the lobby in Peascroft in Willesden Lane as she returned home from a shopping trip.
The building is managed by Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) and has an intercom security entry.
She said: “They grabbed me by the arm, dragged me into the stairwell and slammed me up against the wall. One of them grabbed me around the throat, pinning me back, I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t breathe.”
The 66-year-old widow, who suffers from incurable auto-immune disease Wegener Granulomatosis, was held by the throat while the other robber stole the contents of her purse containing £40 and her debit and credit card.
She said: “Then they let go of me and vanished and I slid down the wall to the floor.”
It took the former nurse and master gardener 20 minutes to reach her flat where she immediately called her bank to discover her attackers had already withdrawn £290 from her account by using a contactless card loophole.
Mrs Stoneburg added: “I’m still shocked. I had no idea if they were going to punch or stab me. I’m afraid now for others in the building, many of whom are too scared to go out.
“I want the whole thing to be sorted, I want CCTV in the lobby so other people don’t have to go through this.”
Cllr Carol Shaw, Conservative councillor for Brondesbury Park, persuaded Mrs Stoneburg to report the robbery to the police.
She told the Times: “Council blocks along Willesden Lane and Christchurch Avenue need to have their security doors and intercoms regularly checked so that they are safe at entry.
“Visible police and wardens regularly patrolling these areas over a long period would restore the confidence of Brondesbury Park residents.”
A spokeswoman for BHP said: “We were very concerned to hear about the attack on Mrs Stoneburg.
“We have sent out letters to all residents in the block to inform them of the incident and to make sure they are careful about who they give entry to, and BHP Wardens will conduct regular patrols of the block and area to reassure residents.
“We have also sent our contractors to change the timings on the door so that it shuts more quickly.”
“BHP takes all incidents like this very seriously and we will work closely with the police in regards to this case and to prevent incidents like this happening again in the future.”
Brent Police are hunting the suspects who are both white, aged between 20 and 30 and spoke with Middle Eastern accents in connection with the robbery on February 9.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.