Make it go away: Elderly victim’s family says time for talk is over

THE family of an elderly woman brutally mugged in a local car park have made an emotional call for action to curb the violence in Tamworth.

Family members are rallying by the hospital bedside of 79-year-old Ursula Bakker after she was seriously injured following Thursday’s attack.

Mrs Bakker remains in intensive care and suffered a bleed on the brain, a broken nose, broken eye socket, broken arm and severe bruising after being robbed of her handbag in broad daylight in the City Plaza car park.

Agnes Riley said she was an unlikely campaigner, but the vicious attack on her sister had left her with no choice.

“I have already heard people saying we will have to go to the supermarket in pairs ... That’s unacceptable in the city of Tamworth,” she said yesterday.

“We would shrink away from the publicity  but my immediate thought was no, something has to be done.” 

Mrs Riley said the family had been overwhelmed with hundreds of calls and messages of support from as far as Cairns and Wollongong since the news broke.

Now they are hoping something good might come of something so bleak.

“Absolutely it is time...enough is enough,” she said.

“And the uproar about violence in Tamworth ...I went to that meeting some 12 or 18 months ago in the town hall and everyone was talking about how something has to change.

“Well if anything, things are worse now.”

More than 35,000 people clicked on to The Leader website to read what happened with hundreds posting comments of support or expressing concern over the attack.

Now there is a direct appeal to go one step further.

“It’s no use in just interest being aroused, we need action ... and we need someone to take up the cause,” Mrs Riley said.

The news has sent shockwaves through the community, as well as the church and music groups where Mrs Bakker is well known for her love of music.

“Ursula is lovely, she’s loved by so many ... she’s always smiling and happy,” Mrs Riley said.

“There are good signs, but you know she is very sore. They had her out in a chair for 10 minutes [yesterday morning], she was pretty woozy ... the recovery is going be quite long.”

They have praised hospital staff along with police who made a swift arrest and charged a 21-year-old man following the incident.

The West Tamworth man, who is charged with aggravated robbery, fronted Tamworth Bail Court yesterday where he was refused bail.

He has been remanded in custody to front court again tomorrow.

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