Masked robbers in claw hammer attack on Leicester family
A father who was attacked in his home by three masked men has said he thought he and his family would be killed during the raid.
Jitendra Damani, 54, was struck with a hammer when he refused to hand over cash and jewellery to the armed robbers, who had forced their way into his home in Western Park, Leicester.
His son Neel, 25, was repeatedly hit with a hammer and left with a fractured cheek during the attack.
The robbery happened at about 9.50pm on Saturday, September 29, when the gang jimmied open the locked front door with a screwdriver.
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Neel and his mother Divya, 53, were relaxing in the living room and Jitendra was asleep upstairs after finishing a long shift at work.
Jitendra said: "I woke up when I heard my son, Neel, screaming and shouting as they were beating him up with a claw hammer.
"I ran down and saw my son lying on the floor in the living room bruised and battered."
The men demanded Jitendra hand over cash and gold, and struck him on the head with a hammer when he refused.
"Two of them dragged me upstairs and the other stayed with my wife and son," he said. "He grabbed my wife and pulled the rings off her fingers and the chain off her neck."
Upstairs, Jitendra was threatened for a second time and handed over a briefcase which contained about £300, the family's passports, various documents and his Russian stamp collection valued at about £500.
"I was so shaken and a felt helpless – I thought we would be killed," he said.
"My son and wife were shocked and terrified.
"My wife can't stay in the house and has gone to her sister's house in London.
"We have to keep the lights on at night and the front door permanently locked."
Jitendra and Neel were taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for treatment to their injuries and returned home the following day.
Police have taken DNA and evidence from the scene.
The three raiders are white and aged between 22 and 30.
It is thought they made their escape in a silver car, which was last seen travelling along Hinckley Road, towards the city.
Jitendra said he wanted to speak to the Mercury about the horrifying raid because the perpetrators are still at large.
"It's been three weeks now and the police haven't found anything new, so I'm hoping by making the story public it will encourage people to come forward," he said.
Jitendra said the unique stamp collection which was taken in the robbery might hold the key to tracing the criminals.
"It's very distinctive and not many people will have similar collections," he said.
"It's in a small blue book and contains about 100 Russian stamps – there wouldn't be many places where the thieves would be able to sell it."
A spokeswoman for Leicestershire Police said officers were investigating the incident at the family's Frampton Avenue home.
Anyone with information can call police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, which is anonymous, on 0800 555 111.