REPORT by Steve Chilton.
EARLY October is normally a time of birthday joy for a frail old lady now in the autumn of her life at 87.
Mrs Kaur spent much of this year in hospital battling life-threatening heart and kidney diseases.
She nearly didn’t make it. At one point doctors thought she had just days to live.
But she is a fighter and was discharged into the care and love of her daughter’s home in Cannon Hill Road, Coventry, to start her recuperation. There was still much to celebrate.
That hard-earned reprieve was short-lived, shattered along with a kitchen window as heartless thugs smashed in and attacked her while she was in the bathroom.
Demanding to know ‘where is the gold?’ they dragged the defenceless widow across the hallway, stuffing her headscarf into her mouth to muffle her screams.
“Mum has difficulty breathing because of her illness,” her daughter said:
“She told me that was the moment she thought was going to die and would never see us again.”
Her two attackers were remorseless.
They spotted a bangle on her wrist and cruelly wrenched it off, causing her hand to swell to the size of a melon and a wound which left a trail of blood across rooms and hallway.
Ironically, the bangle, known as a kara, is a traditional Sikh bracelet which carries a symbol denoting unity.
Mrs Kaur’s was not gold and comparatively worthless in monetary terms. But she is a spiritual woman, attends temple devotedly and puts a high personal value on it.
Like many of Coventry’s Sikh community, she came here with her husband from the Indian Punjab in the early 1950s to forge a better life.
The hard-working couple settled in a modest home the Stoney Stanton Road area of the city where they raised six children.
“We are from a working class background,” said the daughter.
“Dad worked in a foundry at Alfred Herbert’s, Sterling Metals and at the old Cherry Orchard brickworks in Kenilworth. He never owned a car and used his bicycle to get everywhere.”
Mrs Kaur also worked in factories, mainly employed in the sewing trade.
Her husband died 10 years ago but she remained defiantly independent in her own home until her illness worsened this year. She was hospitalised on five occasions including most of May and lengthy periods in late summer.
“We very nearly lost her,” said her daughter.
She and he husband wanted her to move permanently into their detached home. Get her back on her feet, hoping that she would soon be able to visit the temple again and resume her yoga classes.
“Mum is very well-liked and loved,” said her daughter. “So many people call her mum I often joke with her and say ‘Just how many children have you got?’ “
At this time of year, Mrs Kaur’s delicate hands would normally be occupied knitting jumpers for her beloved grandchildren for Christmas.
But that looks unlikely this year given the injuries inflicted by the two robbers.
The pair, who were masked during the raid, may have had two accomplices, one of whom drove a white Mercedes to drop off one of the robbers at the junction of Cannon Hill Road and The Shrubberies shortly before the raid.
A fourth member of the gang was believed to be behind the wheel of a getaway car, described as a dark coloured VW Golf, which raced off towards the Kenilworth Road.
The gang targeted the house hoping for a haul of “Indian gold” jewellery, but they also stole car keys, intending to return later when the vehicles were on the drive.
They struck in broad daylight on Saturday, September 22, between 11.10am and 12.20pm.
Despite her ordeal Mrs Kaur, though bloodied and distressed, had managed to crawl to the phone and was trying to raise the alarm.
Her daughter and a carer arrived home and found her propped against a wall still holding the phone and yelling that the robbers were upstairs.
“I was absolutely terrified,” said her daughter. “I was with my children and shocked at the sight of my mum covered in blood.
“But she had reacted very calmly, much more together than I was. She had pleaded with them to leave and had even pretended my husband was home by shouting out to him.”
Realising the robbers must have fled, the daughter phoned the police. They converged on the house while she was still giving details.
She said: “My mum could easily have had a heart attack and died of shock. What sort of men are they that could treat an elderly woman like that?
“My mum always thought the best of everyone but these thugs could have killed her for the sake a handful of inexpensive jewelry.”
On Wednesday, her birthday, Mrs Kaur’s quiet indomitable spirit shone through the dark shadow cast by the robbery.
Her injured hand still gives her pain but she manages her porridge breakfast one-handed and finds added sustenance in admiring the bounty of bouquets and cards that crowd the kitchen table.
As we reported, police have appealed for the public’s help in tracking down Mrs Kaur’s attackers.
CCTV images of a man who they want to question in connection with the robbery have been released.
The break in and brutal treatment of a helpless elderly lady occurred between 11.10am and 12.20 pm on Saturday morning, September 22.
A police spokesman “Anyone with information can contact us via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am to midnight, call 101 anytime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 giving crime number 20CV/217166H/18.”