THE PREGNANT mother tied to a chair by machete-wielding raiders as they ransacked her home near Market Drayton insisted this week: ‘These thugs won’t force me out of my own home’.
Victoria Ratheram, 28, said she was ‘jumpy’ and has had trouble sleeping since the gang raided her home in Wollerton on April 5. Her husband James was at work when three men, also brandishing a truncheon, forced their way into the house looking for valuables and money.
Mrs Ratheram, who is eight months pregnant, and young son Oliver were at the mercy of the gang during the terrifying raid, which also saw the culprits target a neighbour’s house where a teenage boy suffered cuts as he tried to protect his mother.
Reliving her ordeal, she said all she could think about during the raid was her son, and her unborn baby.
“One of the raiders told him it was a game, which is one thing I am grateful for,” she said.
“He hasn’t mentioned it and I don’t think he really understood what happened at all.
“I’m not in a good way. I’m jumpy and I get really anxious. I’m not sleeping at all.
“My dad’s upped the security on my house, but it still frightens the living daylights out of me when people ring the doorbell.”
In the raid, the intruders began ransacking the house as one gang member leaned in and held a machete to her face telling her not to scream.
He then patted down her stomach to see if she was hiding any valuables the gang could steal.
“That made me feel physically sick,” said Mrs Ratheram. “It was horrible.”
Mrs Ratheram added: “My son Oliver was right next to me, playing with his toy car. I just told him, ‘do as mummy says, everything is fine’. I knew I had to stay calm for him, but underneath I was absolutely terrified.
“I thought, ‘let them do what they want, nothing in the house matters. Just please don’t let them hurt my son, please don’t let them hurt my baby’.”
She went on: “ They kept asking, ‘where’s your safe, where’s your safe?’ I told them we didn’t have one and they said, ‘if we find out you’re lying, there will be trouble’.”
Once the thugs had left, Mrs Ratheram’s alsatian Bella tried to gnaw through the ties on her feet to free her.
“She must have sensed I was in danger, because she never left my side,” said Mrs Ratheram. “She even tried to lunge at the robbers at one point. I was terrified they’d hurt her in front of my son because he loves her so much.”
Mrs Ratheram and her son were discovered minutes later by a neighbour’s daughter, who had spotted the open door.
The raiders’ haul consisted of little more than several mobile phones – Mrs Ratheram’s handbag was left behind with the purse inside.
Police are appealing for witnesses who spotted a silver saloon car in the area from about 6am on the day of the raids.