A woman whose defenceless elderly mother was brutally assaulted in her own home has made an emotional plea for help to catch her attackers.
Four men burst into the home of 76-year-old Mary Coulter in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, in the early hours of March 22.
They kicked in the door and without saying a word launched their sickening attack, breaking both the woman’s arms and leaving her with serious head injuries and cuts to her face, which are said to have scarred her for life.
The grandmother-of-six, who lives alone, was pounced upon in the hallway of the property in Overtown, at about 5.20am, with a large bladed weapon – possibly a machete – and what is understood to be a bat.
As Mrs Coulter tried to escape by fleeing out on to the street, the men chased after her and continued to assault her. They ran off only when the pensioner’s screams alerted neighbours.
Her daughter, Helen Coulter, 38, also from Wishaw, appealed for anyone with information to get in touch with police.
At a press conference held by Strathclyde Police, she said: “Our mum, Mary Coulter, is a strong and wonderful person. She is a loving great-grandmother who is dearly loved by all her family. She lives for her family.
“She is well known and liked in the local community. Just over a week ago our 76-year-old mum was brutally attacked within her own home.
“Mum is a defenceless, elderly woman who has never hurt anyone: now she is severely scarred for the rest of her life.”
Helen, however was at a loss why anyone would carry out such a vicious attack on her mum.
“We can’t understand why anyone would carry out this cowardly attack. If you know who is responsible for this horrific and senseless attack on mum, or if you have any information, please do the decent thing.
“This has devastated the family. Anyone with information please, for the sake of our family, contact police or Crime stoppers.”
Mrs Coulter is the mother and grandmother of two men, Ronnie and Andrew Coulter, who were cleared of killing waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar in 1998.
However, police said they do not believe there is any link between the two incidents and detectives said evidence suggests Mrs Coulter was not the group’s intended victim.
Detective Chief Inspector Pat Campbell, from Strathclyde Police, said Mrs Coulter was ‘very much lucky to be alive’, while Detective Inspector John Lamb said he was ‘almost speechless’ at the level of violence she had been subjected to.
Mr Lamb, who is leading the investigation, said: “It took quite a few days before we could actually get first-hand contact with Mary, but family liaison officers have now been well-bedded.
“They have seen her on two or three occasions and she has been responding very well. I think you could say, while she was very, very serious, she is now as well as can be expected and is improving daily.”
He added that because the incident happened very early in the morning, it was less likely there would be any witnesses.
However, Mr Lamb appealed for the occupants of a white van, parked in nearby Gourlay Drive at the time, to come forward.
He said the motive for the attack was ‘still up for debate’, but ruled out any attempted robbery.
Mr Lamb said: “From what we’ve gathered from our enquiries thus far, I think it is fairly clear that they have been looking for a specific person. Who that person is, is no clearer.
“We have no solid suspect at the moment, but I remain optimistic.”
Crime-fighting charity Crime stoppers has offered a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible.
Kate Jackson, Crime stoppers national manager for Scotland, said: “The sickening violence of this attack needs immediate positive reaction by the public through giving information on this crime so the heartless individuals responsible can be served justice.”
The attackers are white men who were all either wearing hooded tops or had their faces hidden with scarves. One is particularly heavily built. All four were wearing light-coloured trainers. Thugs attack grandma, 76, with machete, bat, as reported by the Punch.