Published: 12:37, 09 April 2021
| Updated: 16:05, 09 April 2021
A woman was tied up, repeatedly punched, cut with a knife and had a bottle of alcohol poured over her in a harrowing hours-long burglary, before being left for 48 hours without food or water.
The suspect fled the her Frittenden home with less than £100, leaving the victim, aged in her 60s, so tightly bound she could not even reach a window to raise the alarm.
Police said the woman was left with bruising, a black eye and cuts to her face in an ordeal that went on for several hours, before her assailant finally tied her up and left.
She had been in her garden at around 6pm on Easter Sunday, when a man who claimed he was hot from a cycle ride asked for drink of water.
After she gave him a drink, he leapt over the fence, bundled her inside her own home and assaulted her.
He left her bound hand and foot, gagged and restrained in such a way that she couldn't even move to window to attract attention.
As a final act of indignity he poured a bottle of alcohol over her before leaving
It was 48 hours before police freed the victim after responding to a call from a relative concerned at their not being able to reach the householder.
The lady had been without food and drink for two days and was taken to hospital suffering from dehydration and for treatment to her injuries.
She has since been discharged, but police say she has been so traumatised by the incident that she is finding it difficult to talk about her ordeal.
DCI Neil Kimber is the officer in the charge of investigating the case.
He said: "We have specially trained officers supporting her, but she really wants to be left alone to recover."
It has emerged that her attacker may have escaped with less than £100.
DCI Kimber said: "We know a small quantity of cash - probably less than £100 - was stolen, but we have not been able to establish that anything else has been taken."
Police do not even know if the villain really did arrive by bicycle as the victim didn't see one.
DCI Kimber said: "We need to catch this man - and it is my belief we will catch him."
He appealed for help from the public. He said: "I'm sure that somebody out there knows exactly who did this. I appeal to them to pluck up the courage to come forward.
"It was two days before the victim was released, as far as her attacker knew, it might have been a week."
Maidstone property tycoon Fergus Wilson has added a further incentive for anyone with information to come forward.
Mr Wilson has put up a £10,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to a successful arrest and prosecution.
DCI Kimber sought to re-assure the public, saying: "Such attacks are exceedingly rare.
"But residents should take care, especially if they see anyone fitting the attacker's description."
The man was white, slim, about 5ft 10in, in his 20s to 30s with a local accent. He was wearing black trainers, a black top and black gloves.
DCI Kimber said forensic officers were still conducting a thorough search of the property for evidence.
For operational reasons, he declined to say how many officers were working on the case but said residents could expect to see additional resources in the area.
He said the area was policed both by a rural task force and neighbourhood policing teams.
The break-in and assault occurred at a property in Staplehurst Road, Frittenden.
The victim wasn't found until 7.30pm on Tuesday.
The incident is the fourth aggravated burglary in the Weald within the last eight months.
In August last year, an armed robber stole jewellery from a woman in her home in Staplehurst Road, Marden.
In September, an elderly couple were threatened with a shotgun in their home in Chantlers Hill, Paddock Wood.
And only last month four masked men broke into a home in Staplehurst tying up their victim before stealing jewellery.
Despite the similarities, DCI Kimber said there was no evidence suggesting any of the crimes were linked.
No arrests have yet been made for any of the four incidents.
Referring to the Frittenden attack, DCI Kimber said: "The victim has endured a harrowing and traumatic ordeal.
"If you know anything that could help, please contact us."
Call Kent Police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 46/56590/21.
You can also contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or by using the online form.