Elderly bashing victim 'a gentle soul', say neighbours

NEIGHBOURS have described a 90-year-old Tamworth woman bashed by teens in a terrifying home invasion at the weekend as “proudly independent” and a “gentle soul”.

The woman was struck repeatedly in the head and body by two teenage boys, one wielding a piece of wood, during a botched robbery at her Winston Pl home on Saturday night.

As police appeal for information about the attack, a friend and neighbour of the victim said the incident had sent shockwaves through the close-knit South Tamworth street.

“It’s very frightening and it’s made everyone a lot more nervous,” Robin Wilkes said.

“It’s a quiet street, we all just go about our lives.

“Little incidents do happen but nothing like this.”

The usually sleepy street was swamped by reporters and television crews yesterday as the bashing made national news headlines.

The elderly victim, who lives alone, declined to comment to the media, saying only: “I can’t sleep at night ... I want to move on with my life”.

The Leader has chosen not to publish the victim’s name, despite her identity being revealed by other media outlets and contained in a press release from Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson.

She was treated at the scene following the attack and later at Tamworth hospital for cuts and bruises to her face, shoulder and wrist.

She has now been forced to beef up security at her home, while neighbours maintain a vigil of her property.

After the thieves left empty-handed, she even reportedly summoned the courage to chastise them, telling the boys to “take a good look at what they had done”.

“We’re all so proud of her. To think she stood up to them,” Mrs Wilkes said.

“She’s an old-school country lady – she doesn’t take any silly business.

“She’s proudly independent and a gentle soul but she’s got a tough side.”

Mrs Wilkes said she had heard loud voices and dogs barking in the street on Saturday night.

“We looked outside and couldn’t see anything going on,” she said.

“We then saw the ambulance arrive but thought it must have been someone in the park.”

She and other neighbours visited the victim at home yesterday.

“She was still very shaken and has a big bruise on her forehead,” Mrs Wilkes said.

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named but has known the elderly woman for more than 30 years, said the woman’s house had been the target of another break-in about 12 months ago, although she had not been home at the time.

“She is tiny and thin and she looks so frail, you would think that if they took to her with a piece of wood it would have killed her,” the neighbour said.

“But she is determined; when they tried to break in she told them to go away ... but this attack was just cowardly.”

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