A WIDOWER has told how he was tortured and beaten by masked thugs who broke into his home in Fife and stole his life savings.
Ian Masterton, a 54-year-old garage owner, was left bruised and battered after the raiders forced him into revealing where tens of thousands of pounds had been hidden at his home in the village of Lochore.
The businessman, whose wife Lynne died in September last year, was punched and kicked and threatened by the armed robbers while tied up in his living room during a terrifying 45-minute ordeal.
Speaking for the first time about the attack, Mr Masterton, a father of three and grandfather of two, admitted that he feared he was going to be killed when he refused to tell the gang where his money was kept.
They burst into his home in Lochleven Road between 10 and 11pm last Thursday.
Mr Masterton recalled: “I went into the house, locked my bottom door, took my jacket off went to get my paper. And then I heard this almighty roar from my back porch.
“I’d never experienced anything like that before in my life but I knew what was about to happen with the noise. I tried to hold my door shut but it got forced in.”
An unspecified number of masked and hooded men, armed with weapons, burst into his home.
Police Scotland detectives, who are hunting the gang, have confirmed that Mr Masterton was then “tied up and tortured”.
Mr Masterton explained: “The first few got on top of me. They told me to lie on my stomach. They were shouting to know where my safe was, where my money was. I said, ‘I’ve not got a safe.’
“They tied me up and I got put in my sitting room and was assaulted. Some were away ransacking the house.”
He continued: “One was kicking me, punching me. One kept on coming back and screaming ‘where’s your money?’ “I said I didn’t have money.
“This went on. They were in possession of weapons and made it clear I was going to come to further physical harm. I thought they were maybe going to kill me. That was going through my mind.”
Mr Masterton went on: “After about 20 minutes I ended up telling them where the money was because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I didn’t know what they were capable of.”
Detective Inspector Graham Seath, who is heading the investigation, said: “While I cannot go into specific details on the nature of the assault, this was a vicious attack carried out by a number of men, and while the victim did not suffer any serious injuries, he has been left traumatised by the incident.
“As part of our inquiries we are keen to trace the occupants of a large white vehicle, possibly a BMW, which was in the area on Wednesday and Thursday, who may have information relating to this crime.”
Det Insp Seath said anyone with information on the vehicle, or who was in the area on Thursday night who noticed anything suspicious, should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.