Gym owner left bloodied by vicious machete attack in his own home
The boss of a fitness company says he barely managed to call the police after being attacked by machete-wielding robbers in his own home.
Jonathan Hair, founder of the North-East’s Skinnypigs gym chain, had his legs hacked and his head repeatedly smashed with a hammer before the burglars made off with £4,000 in cash from his home in Sunderland.
He suspects the attackers may have wanted to put him out of business or were tipped off that he had recently collected the monthly takings from his business.
The well-built 38-year-old says he initially fended off the worst of the blows while wrestling his attackers in his dressing gown but was eventually overpowered.
Jonathan said: ‘I was fast asleep but was woken by noises downstairs and people speaking which didn’t seem real.
‘I thought at first it was just my mates who had been on the drink and were coming back from the pub.
‘I jumped up, got my dressing gown on and went to the stairs but then they waved this machete straight at me.
‘I grabbed the bloke’s wrists and wrestled with him, but then another one hit me in the head with a hammer.
‘It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds later when he asked “where is the f****** money or I’ll cut your toes off”.’
The gang tried to ‘torture’ Jonathan into revealing where he was keeping his business’ takings, the gym boss continued, but he had already banked it all.
He claims they fled after he handed over £4,000 in cash which he borrowed from his poorly father to help pay his mortgage.
Jonathan says he had lost so much blood he struggled to use his phone’s touchscreen to call 999.
He was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery and spent several days in recovery.
Tendons and ligaments in his fingers and legs were severed in the attack and his nose was fractured in more than a dozen places, he says.
He continued: ‘They hit me that many times with the hammer it took the flesh right down to the skull’.
‘There was blood spattered everywhere, even the ceiling. I was like a young Michael Flatley trying to avoid the worst of it.
‘I suppose I’d take getting a slash to the leg to avoid having part of me cut off. To be honest I was more worried about my dogs.’
Jonathan shared graphic pictures of his wounds on Facebook, offering a £3,000 reward to anyone with information that helps police identify his attackers.
‘In my opinion it is either someone who has a vested interest in putting me out of business or someone who has been tipped off about the takings,’ he said.
‘All three of them had a balaclava and only one of them spoke, so it makes me think it was someone that I’d recognise.
‘Every time that I went to move my head I was hit with the hammer, so they didn’t want me to have a good look.
‘I’m just hoping that if there is £3,000 on the line, it might make people a bit more talkative.’
Northumbria Police said three men aged 37, 32 and 22 were arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary but have since been released under investigation.