Sick burglars target terminally ill man twice in two days

Ben Styles aged 28 from Preston, has muscular dystrophy and had an attempted break in at his home over the weekend. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday August 08, 2015.
Ben Styles aged 28 from Preston, has muscular dystrophy and had an attempted break in at his home over the weekend. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday August 08, 2015.

A terrified mum fears for her terminally ill son after raiders targeted their home twice in just two days.

Diane Styles is 
worried about her son Ben, who has Duchenne 
muscular dystrophy, and she is desperate to find him a new home after two attacks within hours.

Ben, whose twin brother Joe died from the same condition last year, was left terrified when thugs tried to break into his room with a crowbar on Friday night. The case was reported to the police only for burglars to target the family again hours later on Saturday night.

Mum Diane, who believes criminals are targeting the flat looking for medical equipment or medication, said: “I’m concerned for him and concerned for me. I’m concerned for the impact it will have on his health.”

Diane was sleeping in the same room as Ben when she heard a loud noise at around 3.50am on Friday – her 49th birthday.

They both woke up and could hear two people in the flat above them, which is near Preston city centre.

Ben told her not to leave the room, as his condition meant he would not be able to do anything to help if the burglars saw her.

And then Diane heard someone trying to open the window next to Ben’s bed with a crowbar.

Diane phoned the police and then approached the window, where there was a man.

She said: “I opened the curtain. I don’t know where I got the courage from, but I had to do something.

“He was standing there in a black hat. I screamed at him and he ran. The other two must have followed him.”

Diane is worried about what could have happened to her son if the burglars had gone into his bedroom.

“If they had got through that window and grabbed a piece of machinery, it could have been his ventilator they grabbed,” said Diane.

“Ben could have died.”

And on Saturday night, someone tried to get into the garage, taking the door off its hinges.

Ben can talk, but he cannot move because of muscle wasting disease Duchenne and he uses a ventilator to help him breathe. His identical twin brother Joe died from the condition last year.

The pair were diagnosed with the disease at the age of four and were not expected to live past their late teens.

They both stopped walking at eight years old and started using wheelchairs, and they could no longer move their arms or feed themselves by the time they reached 14.

Diane, who is married to Nigel and has two other children, said watching her sons’ health deteriorate was “the most devastating thing” a parent could go through.

“It’s hard anyway, but to watch it happen to one of them and have to sit back and wait for it to happen again, it’s pretty scary,” she said.

“You live on the edge all the time. You can’t relax or plan anything or go anywhere. It’s like a bomb waiting to go off.”

And she is now desperate to find somewhere else for Ben to live.

The family moved into the property 14 months ago from their home in Fleetwood for Ben and Joe’s healthcare.

Diane said: “I would like somebody out there to help me move Ben into somewhere more suitable.

“I’m looking for somewhere in a nice area, a two-bedroom bungalow that’s accessible for him and the carers.”

Police said they are appealing for anyone with information to call them directly on 101, quoting log number 0160 on August 7.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.