The pensioner who fended of a masked gang who broke in to his North Belfast home last week says he won’t be forced out of the Oldpark house he has lived in for over 30 years. Brian Hillick was in his Rosapenna Court home on Friday night (March 23) when three masked men broke in.

The 73-year-old, who lives with his 78-year-old sister Kathleen who has learning difficulties, was asleep on the sofa in his front room when the three men broke in.

One of the men held him down and demanded money from him while the others ran upstairs.

“They were saying where’s the 20 grand, we know you have it, we know you won it,” said Brian. “They thought I won money in a bet, but where they got that information I don’t know.”

Brian managed to escape the clutches of the man holding him and grabbed a plastic money box from his windowsill and threw it through the window. He said the noise of the glass shattering scared the men off.

As they were making their escape he was knocked to the floor and suffered a cut to his head and lost a tooth. However Brian, who has lived in the house since 1979, said he hasn’t considering moving from the area.

“There is no way I am moving anywhere, I have lived here for 30 years and nothing like this has ever happened, I won’t be leaving. I am not going to let it get me down, I am feeling alright and I will rise above it.”

He said if he met the three who broke into his house he wouldn’t have the words to express his feelings about the attack.

“If I met them I wouldn’t know what to say to them, what could you say? It would just be like water off a duck’s back to them, they wouldn’t care, they are just thugs. But they are a small minority because most young kids are very decent, this lot are just scum.”

He also spoke of Kathleen’s bravery as she tried to ward the men off.

“She was shouting at them, ‘leave my brother alone, leave my brother alone’. It wasn’t a nice experience.”

North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said Mr Hillick’s bravery contrasted with the cowardice of his attackers.

“I was glad to see that despite his ordeal and the fact that he was injured, that he has come through it well,” he said after visiting Mr Hillick this week.

“The people that terrorise communities like this need to be found and I call on anyone with information to bring it forward. The community should also continue to keep an eye out for their elderly neighbours.”