A TERRIFIED grandfather was tied up and had a pillowcase put over his head by a gang of robbers.
Three men stormed into Roy Jepson’s Laindon home on Monday night, telling him they were going to kill him unless he handed over cash.
Mr Jepson, 75, immediately told the raiders to take £300 of his pension from his wallet – hoping they would leave.
But the trio, who covered their heads with hoodies and were unarmed, continued to threaten him for more cash for a further 20 minutes, pulling apart his home in Turner Close.
Mr Jepson, who helped to launch the Echo in 1969 as a district sales supervisor, said: “At 8pm there was a knock at the door.
“There was this young chap and and he asked ‘is Tony in’?
“I said to him ‘I’m on my own here, there is no Tony’ and he went away.
“Then, at 11pm, I was watching the end of the football transfer window on the TV. It was three minutes to the deadline and there was another knock on the door.
“I just thought they were messing around.
“I went outside and shouted ‘who are you and what do you want’.
“I looked round and three of them came at me.
“Looking back, I think the first one had been on the look-out for the others.”
Mr Jepson, who’s son was out at the time of the attack, fought back and hit one of the men, breaking his finger, before he was bundled into his living room.
The three ransacked his house, taking the money, before they bound his hands and feet with neck ties they found in his wardrobe and fled.
They also stole his mobile phone and took the batteries out of his home phone to stop him from calling police.
Mr Jepson struggled for five minutes to get free before calling for help with another phone the raiders hadn’t seen.
He said: “The ringleader kept saying to me ‘where’s the money’, but I told him he already had it. They told me they were going to cut me up and when they told me theywere going to kill me, my heart just stopped. They put a pillowcase over my face and I couldn’t breathe.
“I said to them ‘have you got a grandad? Would you want this to happen to him?’ “It was despicable. I have never done anything to anyone.
“I just want people to know what has happened so I can warn them. I want these people to be found.”
Mr Jepson’s son Rob, 47, was out at the time of the attack and said his father had been left bruised and shaken.
He added: “They’re pathetic low lives and sick.
“We don’t knowwhether this was a case of mistaken identity or if they were scouting for someone to attack.”
The family said they would be installing security and CCTV cameras at the house to stop anything like it happening again.