Burglars steal war veteran’s life savings
Great grandfather’s flat was broken into by thieves while he slept
HEARTLESS burglars broke into a Second World War veteran’s home and stole his life savings as he slept.
They climbed in through an open window at Lionel Lake’s sheltered housing flat, in St Catherine’s Farm Court, Howletts Lane, Ruislip, some time between 9pm on Thursday and 1am on Friday.
The thieves rifled through the 91year-old’s clothes to find a key to his chest of drawers, before snatching envelopes filled with £5,000 in notes.
The great grandfather said: “I’d saved this for years as a little nest egg for my two boys and two girls to make sure I leave them something. Now it’s all gone.
“I’m a bit deaf and when I’m in bed and I’ve got my hearing aid out I can’t hear anything. I think they got in quietly somehow or other. It was such a shock to see my front room light on and the bureau open.”
Mr Lake said he had never told anyone, even family members, where the money was kept.
His granddaughter Sally Fitzgerald, a 37-year-old receptionist from Ruislip, said: “He’s my hero and he’s the nicest man you could ever meet. I just feel so devastated.
“He was so shaken up. He couldn’t eat for two days. He’s a bit better now but he still doesn’t want to go out.”
She added: “I just think it’s so awful that people can do this. They know it’s elderly people who live there. They must have seen him lying there in bed. It just makes me sick to my stomach.”
Mr Lake, who was born in Watford, joined the Home Guard aged 15 and later entered the British Army’s Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) based in Winchester.
As a lance corporal he took part in the D-Day Landings in Normandy in 1944.
He was knocked out by a mortar explosion in Falaise that year, before being shipped home, where he received four medals.
The retired printer, who worked for Sun Printers, in Watford, lived in Eastcote and then Ruislip with his wife Doris until her death in 2010, aged 88.
Police have carried out forensic work and are studying CCTV in a bid to catch the burglars. They are appealing for anyone with information to call 101.
n SHAKEN UP: Lionel Lake