Gran tied up and doused with petrol by masked burglars in horror hostage raid

A woman is still haunted by the memory of being tied up and doused in petrol by burglars who forced their way into her Newcastle home eight years ago.

The violent trio who terrorised Sheila Quadrini have still not been caught to this day.

Now the grandmother is opening up about the traumatising experience – and says she believes someone could have been paid to target her.

Sheila, the former wife of nightclub tycoon Michael Quadrini, told ChronicleLive : "Even now when I'm putting my key in the front door I'm always looking over my shoulder and wondering if someone is there.

"I think about it all the time. It's not nice thinking they have got away with it. Sometimes I will sit and think and try and work out whether I could have done anything any different."

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She was pounced on as she returned to her luxury home on Furzefield Road on the evening of December 6 2012.

While disabling her burglar alarm she felt a gloved hand cover her mouth from behind.

She was then bundled into her lounge where one man tied her up, poured petrol on her and demanded a lighter, while his two accomplices ransacked the house, helping themselves to cash and valuables.

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The attackers held Sheila hostage for more than an hour, during which she thought she would be burned alive.

But they eventually fled, leaving her tied up.

Sheila managed to free herself by struggling out of her Ugg boots which were bound with rope. With her hands still tied together, she crawled upstairs and dialled 999 with her tongue.

To this day she has no idea how she managed to summon help in this way.

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"I keep thinking I must have been pretty brave," she said.

"Now when I look back I think; 'how did I think to press 999 with my tongue'? I think something just kicks in. Survival must just kick in."

By the time police arrived the raiders had vanished into the night.

In January 2013 the Chronicle revealed that County Durham men, aged 36, 43 and 60, had been arrested in connection with the incident.

But they were later told they would not be charged, and still, no one has been brought to justice for the attack.

Sheila, who was 65 at the time, believes her high profile role on the nightclub scene resulted in her being selected by a gang.

"It wasn't a one-off. They had to know what time I was coming home. It could have been someone who was hired by someone. It does make it difficult to trust people now."

Despite what she went through there, Sheila has always been determined not to be frightened away from the home she loves.

"I'm still at the same house and I'm fine," she said. "I could have moved but I like the area I'm in. I like where I live.

"I think a lot of people thought I would move. But I had a lot of support for a long time.

"There was somebody with me all the time for months after, I was never alone.

"I have my granddaughter living with me now so I'm not alone. I do feel safe. We have got a good neighbourhood watch type of thing here.

"And I don't feel as bad being in the house because they got me from outside. It's not like they broke into the house. I have thought it through a lot and thought about how I can keep myself safe.

"Your home should be somewhere that you feel safe. And it's so important now in the pandemic."

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "A thorough investigation into this incident was carried out at the time, however, there was insufficient evidence to bring any criminal charges.

"We will investigate any new lines of enquiry and would advise anyone with information to contact us using the Tell us Something page on our website."

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