Residents feared for their lives as ‘horror film scene’ unfurled at Doncaster older people’s flats

Residents in an older people’s housing block feared for their lives as a ‘scene from a horror film’ played out in real life in Doncaster.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 3:08 pm

A resident today told how a man with a hammer went on the rampage at Sanctuary Housing’s Wheatfields flats on Queen Street, Thorne, smashing windows and attacking cars, leaving those living in the block worried about the future safety of the property.

The man was stopped when police arrived and took him away.

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Smashed windows at Wheatfields in Thorne

Resident Jeffrey Budworth said the man had been placed in the flats, which are intended for over 55s, by housing officials. He said most of the residents are in their 70s and 80s.

He said they now wanted reassurances that he would not be returned to the flats, after the incident which happened in the early hours of May 25.

Mr Budworth said: “We live in a block of 24 flats.

"The man came out with a hammer and started smashing ground floor windows. He then went into the car park and started smashing cars up, causing considerable damage.

Concerned residents pictured outside their homes on Wheatfields, Thorne. Pictured l-r Maureen Cragg, Keith Ridsdale, David Purdy, Patricia Stafford, Janice Taylor, Jeff Budworth and Paula Shaw. Picture: NDFP-08-06-21-Wheatfields 1-NMSY

“I was woken by the noise. What I saw was like a horror movie. He’d smashed one of our windows, and then he started smashing the other. I saw the hammer in his hand and started phoning the police.

"They told me not to leave the flat and get somewhere safe.

"We thought he was going to come inside with the hammer and kill us. When the police took him away it was like a war zone.”

Now he says he residents want assurances that the man will not be allowed back to the flats.

Some of the damage pictured at Wheatfields. Picture: NDFP-08-06-21-Wheatfields 2-NMSY

The windows had been boarded up but not replaced, he said.

Mr Budworth said it meant that some rooms in the property still had no natural light after the incident.

He said car windscreens also got broken, as well as dents to their metal and damage to wing mirrors.

He was yet to have his car repaired and was trying to find an affordable way of doing it without losing his no claims discount.

Some of the damage at Wheatfields. Picture: NDFP-08-06-21-Wheatfields 3-NMSY

A South Yorkshire Police Spokesman said: “Police were called at 2.40am on May 25 to reports of criminal damage at an address in Queen Street, Thorne.

“It is reported that a man caused damage to the windows and vehicles parked outside several properties in Queen Street.

“Police attended the scene and a man was detained by officers. He was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act.”

The organisation which owns the block of flats is aware of the current situation.

Sanctuary Housing issued a statement, but said it could not comment on details on what had happened in the early hours of May 25.

It said: “While we cannot comment specifically on the incident itself, we recognise and understand why residents have been concerned and upset by it.

"We would like to reassure our residents in the area that we are working closely with partner agencies locally to ensure the individual involved receives the support needed and that we are working proactively to help deliver a suitable long-term solution for all parties.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.