Heartless thieves stole a severely disabled 13-year-old girl’s £8,000 voice computer – leaving her unable to communicate with friends and family.
Mark Williams, 51, and his daughter Celyn, from Bristol, were victims of a burglary while they slept.
The burglars got in via a cat flap and ransacked the house – stealing the special Stephen Hawking-style Eye Gaze computer that is vital to disabled Celyn’s communication.
The thieves also stole another machine that helps to clear Celyn’s airways.
Mark Williams, 51, and his daughter Celyn, from Bristol, were victims of a burglary while they slept
Mr Williams said the old modified laptop will be worth little second-hand to the burglars.
But he says the loss of it will leave his daughter in ‘considerable distress’.
‘This is her voice. The thieves stole that. I’m sure they didn’t know what it was. It was in a nice black case,’ he said.
‘Without, it the only thing she can do it open her mouth wide to indicate ‘yes’. It’s the only way she can communicate with the world.’
Father and author Mark said the modified laptop is worth around £8,000 new – but the computer that runs Celyn’s software is now old, and could be worth as little as £20 to the thieves.
The customised software, Eye Gaze, helps Celyn to make sentences by detecting where on the screen she is looking.
Mark says it will take a long time and a lot of money to replace the machine.
He said: ‘Somebody came in here and saw the wheelchairs and special seating and the hoist in the ceiling.
‘They took her suction machine, which is used to clear her airways, and the laptop, the Eye Gaze machine, that allows her to communicate with the world.
‘Eye Gaze is a computer which can tell where she’s looking on the screen.
The burglars got in via a cat flap and ransacked the house – stealing the special Stephen Hawking-style Eye Gaze computer that is vital to disabled Celyn’s communication
‘It’s going to take quite a long time to replace and it’s going to be very expensive. It has got specialised software on it that’s unique to her.’
Mr Williams added: ‘It’s never pleasant to wake up and find people have been in your house. It will be very, very hard to replace.
‘If the people who stole it see this, they may dump them in our front garden.’
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that burglars broke into a property in Park Road, Staple Hill between 2.30am and 6.30am yesterday morning.
Three laptop computers, cash and tobacco were stolen.
Enquiries are continuing and anyone with information should call the police on 101 and give the crime reference number 5217 253 575.