Millionaire’s ex-wife tied up in her home by burglars managed to phone 999 by using her TONGUE
Shelia Quadrini, 69, was doused in petrol and left tied up for over an hourManaged to escape by calling the police by dialling the numbers with tongueHer ex-husband Michael, also 69, opened the Tuxedo Princess, the famous floating nightclub on the Tyne, in the 1980s
10:23 GMT, 10 December 2012
Tied up with rope and doused in petrol during a raid on her home, Sheila Quadrini was terrified and in no position to summon help.
The 69-year-old, whose ex-husband owned a 15million nightclub business, had returned home to be ambushed by a gang of burglars who made off with her cash and jewellery.
But although they bound her wrists, she managed to improvise…and dialled 999 on her phone by pressing the numbers with her tongue. Police were quickly dispatched to put an end to her 90-minute ordeal.
The raiders waited until Shelia Quadrini, 69, had opened the door before forcing their way in. She was left bruised and shocked but was not seriously injured
She was attacked at her detached house in Gosforth at around 6.30pm on Thursday. A neighbour said: 'Things like this just do not happen around here. This is a very select street'
Three raiders were lying in wait for Mrs Quadrini when she arrived home from work at 6.30pm on Thursday.
They bundled her inside and ripped off
her jewellery before searching the house in the affluent Gosforth area
of Newcastle for valuables. Before they left they tied her up and
doused her in petrol.
Her ex-husband Michael Quadrini, who
owned the Tuxedo Princess floating nightclub in Gateshead along with a
string of bars and restaurants, said the encounter had left her bruised
and badly shaken up.
‘She was tied up for an hour and a half and had petrol poured on her and she had to dial the police with her tongue,’ he said.
‘She’s totally distressed, she’s in a state of shock and she doesn’t want to go back to the house.’
Sheila Quadrini (left) and her former husband Michael (right) before they were divorced in 1985
Mr Quadrini, 69, added: ‘She had just left the office and went home. I think they watched her coming in.
‘She must have just turned the alarm
off. They must have brought the petrol with them and they poured it on
her and threatened her.
‘It happened as she was going in the
door. They took all the jewellery she had on her and her watch, but we
still don’t know what else is gone. She’s too shaken to go back.’
Neighbour Alec Birkbeck, 79, said: ‘It would be very frightening to be
sat at home and have something like this happen.
‘All of us around here have all the security possible. To insure a house of this value you have to.’
The Quadrinis, who have a son, divorced 27 years ago but have remained involved in business together.
After setting up the Tuxedo Princess, Michael Quadirini amassed an empire of bars and restaurants under the umbrella of Absolute Leisure. In 2004 the company was said to be worth 15.4m
Millionaire businessman Michael Quadrini poses with his floating nightclub
Mr Quadrini’s company Absolute Leisure was valued at 15million ten years ago but ran into financial trouble in 2009.
Administrators were appointed to sell
its venues. The Quadrinis met when they were 18, married four years
later and started working together, selling ice cream. Over the next 20
years they built a business empire of clubs and bars in Newcastle.
When they split up in 1985, Mrs
Quadrini said of their partnership: ‘Michael’s ambition was always to be
a millionaire. But he was very shy. And although he was ambitious I was
the driving force behind all our business ventures.’
Last night police appealed for help in catching the burglars.
Detective Inspector Steve Wouldhave,
of Northumbria Police, said: ‘This was clearly a horrific ordeal for the
victim who has understandably been left incredibly shaken and
‘We are now carrying out extensive inquiries into this matter.’'
Sheila Quadrini was tied up for more than an hour before she managed to call 999 with her tongue