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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Feisty Sheppey pensioner Rose Overland, 85, stands up to 'scum of the earth' robber John Lusher in terrifying raid on Leysdown home

04 February 2014
by Emma Grove

A feisty Sheppey pensioner has told how she confronted a self-confessed "scum of the earth" robber who attacked her after breaking into her home.

Rose Overland, 85, was home alone in Leysdown when John Lusher forced his way into her bungalow through a front window after he had twice knocked on the door asking her to sign a petition.

She was subjected to a frightening ordeal in which the crook pushed her onto the sofa, kicked her terrified dog across the room, dragged her through to the bedroom by her arm, smacked her round the face and threw a drawer at her - cracking her ribs.

Feisty Rose Overland put up a fight against robber John Lusher

Feisty Rose Overland put up a fight against robber John Lusher

He also ripped her earrings out, pulled the rings from her fingers and snapped a chain she was wearing round her neck.

But Lusher did not count on his victim being quite as tough as she is when he broke into her Park Avenue home.

"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing...?" - how feisty Rose Overland confronted robber John Lusher

The great grandmother-of-one told how as soon as she saw him climbing in through the window, she demanded: "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"

She told him he had come to the wrong house if he wanted money, replied "so do I" when he said he wanted £1,000 and laughed at him when he said pensioners are wealthy.

After the robber - who she described as "ugly" and "stinking to high heaven" - had struck her, Mrs Overland said she told him: "You're a big man hitting an 84-year-old."

Mrs Overland said he was taken aback that she was that age and told her: "You're not 84."

Robber John Lusher has been jailed for eight years

Robber John Lusher has been jailed for eight years

She admitted she was cheeky to Lusher and said although she was nervous, did not let him know.

Mrs Overland, a member of Leysdown over 50s' club, was saved after her husband Derek - known as Bill - returned with their daughter and two grandsons... who accosted Lusher and held him until the police arrived.

"I was lucky," she said. "I think he might have hurt me more if my family hadn't come back.

"My grandsons were brave – I call them my heroes and I think they saved my life.

"It's so quiet round here you don't expect it. I moved from Hackney because of all the robbery."

Gary and Mark Yearley rescued their grandmother Rose Overland when she was being attacked

Gary and Mark Yearley rescued their grandmother Rose Overland when she was being attacked

However, the retired machinist has not been completely unaffected by the trauma.

Mrs Overland said she has lost a stone because she was not eating or sleeping. And she still has nightmares and wakes up in the night as she relives her ordeal.

She also refuses to be at home on her own any more.

But Mrs Overland praised her neighbours and fellow club members, saying she would have been lost without their "brilliant support".

Boozed-up Lusher, 38, was jailed for eight years last week after terrorising Mrs Overland at home.

Lusher, of Sunnybank Caravan Park, Leysdown, admitted robbery.
Robber John Lusher targeted Rose Overland's home in Park Avenue, Leysdown

Robber John Lusher targeted Rose Overland's home in Park Avenue, Leysdown

 
Prosecutor Alexia Zimbler said Lusher had tried to con his way into other pensioners' homes on September 8 last year by asking them to sign a petition protesting about noise from an allotment.
 
They realised he was drunk and managed to get rid of him.
 
He then made his way to Mrs Overland's bungalow, where she was alone but expecting family to return for a late Sunday lunch.
 
She was to describe him as "shifty" and having a nasty smell. He asked her to sign the petition, but she told him to go away and closed the door.
 
Soon afterwards her dogs started barking and she saw Lusher climbing in through a window. He pushed her onto a sofa, telling her he would not hurt her.
Pensioner Rose Overland was saved when her husband Derek returned with their daughter and two grandsons

Pensioner Rose Overland was saved when her husband Derek returned with their daughter and two grandsons

"Mrs Overland is quite a feisty young lady," said Miss Zimbler. "She told him with some force she had no money. He went to her purse and removed £12."
 
She refused to give him the PINs for her bank cards. He grabbed her hands and pulled off six rings. He also yanked a chain from her neck and pulled out her earrings.
 
Lusher took a cash box from a cupboard, broke open the lock and took £300 from it. He demanded more money as he pulled out drawers. He put a pair of Mrs Overland's tights over his hands.
 
"He asked for £1,000 or he would kill her," said Miss Zimbler. "She said he would have to kill her then because she didn't have that kind of money.
 
"He slapped her across the cheek, bruising her face. She told him: 'You are a big man hitting an 84-year-old.'"
 
Lusher, formerly of Grovehurst Avenue, Kemsley, pulled out drawers and threw them across the room. One hit Mrs Overland on the back.
 
Her grandsons Mark and Gary Yearley arrived separately to see Lusher walking out of the front door. They detained him and police were quickly on the scene.
Judge Jeremy Carey

Judge Jeremy Carey

 
Lusher has a long list of previous convictions and was jailed for 30 months in 2012 for burglary and theft.
 
When asked by his lawyer John Fitzgerald how he would have felt if his grandfather was robbed in the same way, Lusher replied: "Scum of the earth, low life."
 
Mr Fitzgerald submitted Lusher was remorseful, although a report had suggested it was not genuine.
 
Judge Jeremy Carey said: "Sitting in the dock there I expect he may well believe he acted like scum of the earth."

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