Man arrested over 'waterboarding' of grandmother in home


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A 31-year-old man has been arrested following a burglary where a grandmother was “waterboarded” inside her own home.

Francoise Jansen described the terrifying ordeal, which took place in St George's Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, as "sheer hell" and said she thought she was going to die at the hands of the two masked burglars who broke into her home.

The 73-year-old widow told how she was doused in boiling water by the intruders who held her captive for several hours and threatened to cut off her fingers.

Surrey Police said they had arrested the man from Brookwood, Surrey, today, in connection with an aggravated burglary.

A force spokesman said the man remained in police custody and that inquiries into the incident were ongoing.

Mrs Jansen was alone inside her home on a private estate when the raiders forced their way into the six-bedroom property at about 10.50pm on Friday.

She was forced to open a safe before the men, dressed in black clothes and balaclavas, helped themselves to a haul of expensive jewellery and personal items worth a reported £150,000.

The pensioner said she attempted to press a panic button installed in her bedroom, prompting the burglars to boil a kettle and pour scalding water over her arm as punishment.

She was also gagged, "waterboarded" and tied to a radiator during the serious assault that left her with multiple injuries.

She told the Daily Mail: "I was consumed by fear. It was sheer hell and all I can remember is praying."

Mrs Jansen was ordered to open a second safe but was unable to put in the combination.

As a result, the burglars tied her hands behind her back and made her lie in her bath where a water-drenched towel was wrapped around her face a number of times to simulate drowning.

Mrs Jansen said she believed she was going to be raped when the burglars tied her to the towel rail with cable they had ripped from a nearby radio, and cut off her trousers and T-shirt with scissors.

Semi-conscious and trembling she was able to bite her way through the wires to set herself free when she realised the raiders had gone and raise the alarm, she said.

Detective Inspector Jake Nuttall, who is leading the investigation, said: "This was an appalling, unprovoked attack on a defenceless, elderly woman in her own home and Surrey Police is carrying out a thorough and extensive investigation to bring these cowardly offenders to justice.

"The victim sustained injuries to her wrists, arms and shoulders during the attack but fortunately she is expected to make a full recovery. She has understandably been left deeply upset by this horrendous ordeal.

"This type of senseless violence will not be tolerated and I would urge anyone who may have seen or heard anything out of the ordinary in St George's Hill late on Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning to call police as a matter of urgency."

Anyone who witnessed the burglary or who has any information should call Surrey Police on 101, quoting reference EL/12/5053, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.