Family’s emotional Crimewatch appeal

The Late Bertie Acheson, who was murdered in his own home of The Mountsandel Road in Coleraine.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
The Late Bertie Acheson, who was murdered in his own home of The Mountsandel Road in Coleraine.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The heartbroken daughter of a Coleraine pensioner who died after confronting a burglar in his Mountsandel home has made an emotional appeal for information about the killer on national television.

Seventy-two-year-old Bertie Acheson suffered a heart attack after confronting an intruder at his home in Glenmore Gardens last month.

Last Thursday evening his daughter Sandra and son-in-law Keith Creelman featured on Crimewatch alongside senior detectives from the PSNI.

“There is someone out there who knows what this guy did,” said Mr Creelman. “He has a mother or a partner and if they know what he did and have any compassion they will hand this person over.”

Holding back tears Sandra Creelman described her father as a much loved family man.

“He was very quiet, unassuming and really friendly,” she said. “If he met someone on the street he would always be friendly to them ... He was basically a family man.”

The BBC programme featured a reconstruction of the events of April 30.

Mr Acheson and his wife of 44 years, Shiela, were awakened from their sleep at around 1.30am by the sound of breaking glass. Bertie went to investigate and was confronted in the kitchen by an unknown male intruder who demanded money.

An altercation ensued and during the struggle Mr Acheson fell to the floor. The burglar then made his way to the couple’s bedroom where he threatened 70-year-old arthritis sufferer Shiela before stealing her red purse which contained £375.

Mrs Acheson was able to raise the alarm but by the time the emergency services arrived her husband was dead.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, who is leading the police investigation, said he hopes the Crimewatch appeal will prompt people to come forward.

He said: “Someone knows who was responsible for taking Bertie’s life, leaving his elderly wife, Sheila, completely distraught and leaving the wider family circle absolutely devastated for nothing more than a few hundred pounds from Sheila’s purse.

“I would remind everyone there is a £10,000 reward on offer from the independent charity, Crimestoppers, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Bertie’s murder.”

“We appreciate all the information and assistance which has been provided by the local community to date — but we need more information to make that important breakthrough.”

The suspect is described as being approximately 6ft, was wearing a dark top with a collar and thick cuffs, grey jogging bottoms and a coat covering his waist.

Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through a secure online form