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Elderly woman beaten and robbed of handbag in Belfast

By Allan Preston

Published 26/04/2016

Police have appealed for information
Police have appealed for information

A woman in her 90s was beaten around the head for her handbag yesterday in one of two attacks condemned by politicians.

A man described as being in his 60s and armed with a stick attacked the woman then took her bag as she walked through Aston Gardens in the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast at around 4pm.

A neighbour of the victim, who was taken to hospital for treatment, told the BBC he could not believe what had happened.

John McShane said: "She's a very independent lady and very pleasant.

"You would see her on a daily basis heading down to the shops and so on.

"It's an awful shock that someone has done this to her. It will knock her back, I'm sure."

East Belfast Alliance Party Assembly candidate Chris Lyttle condemned the perpetrators and said there had been a similar attack in the area in the past week.

"Any right-thinking person would condemn this sort of incident utterly," he added.

"This comes only days after a woman in her 70s was knocked to the ground during an assault in which her handbag was stolen.

"It is a shocking series of events and I hope the police are able to take the thugs behind them off the streets.

"I hope the lady is able to make a full recovery from what must have been a traumatic incident for her, and I would encourage anyone with information to contact police immediately."

The incident came just days after an 82-year-old man was tied up and robbed in his own home in Ballycormick Park in Ballymoney.

The victim was returning to his house on Saturday when he was followed inside by two men who, after a brief struggle, restrained him with cable ties. The assailants then made off with bank cards, a laptop bag and personal items.

The pensioner was eventually able to free himself and raise the alarm, but he needed hospital treatment for injuries to his hands.

Darryl Wilson, an Ulster Unionist councillor for the area, said he was "shocked and disgusted" to learn of the sickening attack.

Ballymoney resident Heather Hamill also lambasted the attackers in an online post, calling them the "scum of the earth".

Police have appealed for witnesses to either attack to contact them.

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