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Hundreds attend street vigil in wake of vicious attack on pensioner

By David Young

Published 04/02/2016

Members of the public attend a rally held in Divis Street last night following a recent attack on Maureen Shepherd
Members of the public attend a rally held in Divis Street last night following a recent attack on Maureen Shepherd
Gerard Fitzpatrick addresses the rally, at which a message from Mrs Shepherd was read out
Mrs Shepherd who was attacked

Hundreds of members of the west Belfast community turned out last night to attend a vigil organised following a savage attack on pensioner Maureen Shepherd last week.

The grandmother's jaw and cheekbone were broken when a hoodie-wearing thug attacked her as she got off a bus on the lower Falls Road last Saturday evening.

Mrs Shepherd (76) pleaded with her attacker before attempting to struggle, badly injured, the 100 yards to her home.

Mrs Shepherd said she is now terrified of going out.

Residents have spoken of how they were sickened and appalled at the attack.

Community worker Gerard Fitzpatrick, who organised the Albert Street vigil, said: "This community is not going to be held to ransom.

"I would say there are four of five hundred people here, which is fantastic.

"There are people here from all over Belfast - from east Belfast and from the Shankill.

"This isn't just a Divis issue.

"This is an issue for the whole of Belfast and other areas."

During the rally, a message from Mrs Sheppard was read out.

"I am overwhelmed by the messages, cards, presents and flowers from everyone. I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart and can only pray that this attack will be the last," the message read.

A fortnight ago, Florence Slane (78) was attacked as she returned home from a pensioners' day out at Devenish Court. Ms Slane suffered a fractured wrist.

In other crimes in the area, youths have forced entry to homes and smashed car windows.

The PSNI have said that they are stepping up patrols in the area.

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