A teenager has spoken of the terrifying night she thought her and her mother were going to die when two men broke into their Ashington home and attacked them with a sledgehammer and crowbar.
Shannon James, 16, and her mother Rebecca, 42, are offering a reward of more than £10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the two men after they were viciously attacked in Cricketers Close on August 29 last year.
The teen had to have 22 stitches and suffered permanent scarring when she was beaten over the head with a crowbar as she tried to protect her mother.
Shannon said: “I was thinking we’re going to die right here right now. I froze. It’s the scariest feeling.”
Shannon and Rebecca were in bed when they heard banging at the front door at around 9pm.
Rebecca walked down the stairs and asked who was at the door, to which the intruders replied ‘police’.
Suddenly the two men clad in black clothing and balaclavas and armed with weapons burst through the door.
Rebecca was struck over the head with a sledgehammer.
She tried to get away up the stairs but was met with another blow to her head and hand - this time from a crowbar.
Another swing missed her head and hit a wall.
Shannon, who was hiding in her room, came out and attempted to protect her mother.
She told the intruders to ‘leave my mum alone’ before she was attacked.
Shannon said: “I opened the door and the next thing I remember is looking at the man.
“I remember just laying at the top of a stairs with blood everywhere.
“We tried to call the police but there was too much blood on my phone.”
Rebecca and Shannon were taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries and both required stitches, both to wounds on the head. Shannon, who is now at college studying A-levels, will have the scar on her forehead for the rest of her life.
Rebecca has struggled for the last five months and although her scars are not as visible as Shannon’s, she has suffered emotionally.
“From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, I think about it. Your home is supposed to be where you are safe but we weren’t and that’s changed my life. I worry about Shannon all the time now, as a mother I was so supposed to protect her and I couldn’t that night.
“She is only 16 and will have that scar for her life, when she gets married in the future that scar will be in all her photos. These people are still out there and I just need closure.”
Family members have all pulled together to put up a £12,500 reward for the conviction of those responsible for the attack.
Detective constable Katy Lewis said: “The attackers are both described as tall, white men. The one with the sledgehammer was stocky and big and the other man is described as slimmer. They were dressed all in black and wearing balaclavas.
“We believe a green VW Golf which was found burnt out on Post View in Storrington the next day could be connected to the attack. We are hoping someone might have seen this car being driven in Ashington either before or after the attack that could help us.
“This was a terrifying attack for the whole family and they are still suffering the effects now. If you know something that could help us find the people responsible please get in contact. You can either speak to us at the police on 101 or email email@example.com quoting 1601 of 29/8 or speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers who will take information anonymously on 0800 555 111.”