Watch as armed robbers target South Shields pensioner's home and left him to 'fight for his life' after £75k windfall rumours

A pensioner had to "fight for his life" when his home was targeted by armed robbers after a rumour spread that he had had a cash windfall.

Nathan Corner, who was carrying a knife, and two unknown accomplices forced their way into the 70-year-old's flat in South Shields and subjected him to a "terrifying" ordeal after word went around that he had come into £75,000.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim suffered cuts to his fingers from the knife, which became infected and a bruised lip and cut inside his mouth from being punched during the violent raid.

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The court heard Corner was "egged on" by his accomplices, who urged "go on, stick him" as the brave victim desperately fought back.

Nathan Corner.Nathan Corner.
Nathan Corner.

The trio made off with just a whiskey jar containing around £10 in coins but left the victim traumatised.

Corner, 24, of Beach Road, South Shields, admitted robbery and having a bladed article.

Mr Recorder Anthony Dunne sentenced him to seven-and-a-half years behind bars.

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The judge told him: "It must have been terrifying for him and one can completely understand why he felt at the time he was fighting for his life."

The judge said the victim was a "fairly robust individual" who "vigorously defended himself and his home".

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court the three men had first gone to the victim's home in the early hours of July 5 last year, wearing ski masks with just eye and mouth holes but he managed to shut the door on them.

About ten hours later, on the evening of the same day, they turned up again, this time with no masks.

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CCTV footage shows Corner, who was "staggering back and forward, slurring words and appeared to be on drugs", take something from his pocket, whichprosecutors said was a knife, before they stormed in.

Mr Pallister said: "The defendant said 'have you got a tab' then lunged towards him, while holding a knife, which he described as having a six inch blade.

"He heard another voice saying 'go on, stick him'.

"The defendant barged his way in, followed by the two other males."

The court heard the brave victim grabbed Corner by the arms to prevent himself being stabbed.

Corner then tripped on an upturned piece of carpet and fell to the floor so the victim tried to grab the knife.

But Mr Pallister said: "The defendant tried to get up and in doing so pulled the knife, cutting the complainant's index finger and thumb and then took a swipe towards the complainant's leg."

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The court heard the victim grabbed Corner again and they moved backwards towards the living room, while he could hear one of the other males "constantlyshouting 'stick him man, stick him'."

The victim then punched Corner in the face and continued to fight back.

Corner then punched the victim in the face before all three men left the house, with the whiskey bottle containing cash.

Mr Pallister added: "He believes he may have been targeted because there was a rumour around in the area he had come into £75,000."

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The victim picked Corner out at an identity parade and said in a statement he was left feeling insecure in his own home and may move.

He added: "I am shocked someone would do this. I feel annoyed and angry I couldn't protect my home.

"It was terrifying and I genuinely feel like I was fighting for my life at that time.

"I fear further attacks constantly, not a day goes by when I don't think about what happened to me.

"Thankfully I can look after myself but it made me feel angry and vulnerable that people can target me in this way."

Vic Laffey, defending, said Corner has a history of alcohol problems and has never spent any significant period of time in custody.

Mr Laffey told the court: "He apologises to the victim of the offence, he is remorseful for what happened and was appalled when he saw the CCTV and doesn'tremember an awful lot about it.

"He apologises for any embarrassment he has caused his own family as well."