Woman robbed as she tended graves

By Patrick LowmanDETECTIVES are hunting a “despicable” robber who attacked a pensioner in a cemetery as she tended the graves of her husband and other family members.

By Patrick Lowman

DETECTIVES are hunting a “despicable” robber who attacked a pensioner in a cemetery as she tended the graves of her husband and other family members.

Pensioner groups and civic leaders condemned the attack on the 75-year-old woman as “nasty” and “heartless”, while detectives launched an immediate appeal for information to help catch the robber.

Acting Detective Inspector Dave Tobin, of Sudbury police, said: “This is a despicable crime where the actions of this man could have caused serious injuries to a vulnerable elderly lady.”

The robbery happened at about 1pm on Saturday as the pensioner was tending the graves of her family, which included the plot where her husband was buried, at the cemetery in Great Cornard.

She noticed a man walk past her and stop at another grave, but as she started to leave the cemetery off Oxford Close, he came up behind her, shoved her and snatched her handbag.

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Two women and a couple who were nearby rushed to the pensioner's aid, but the robber fled through the main cemetery entrance.

Although the victim was not physically injured as a result of the attack, she was left badly shaken by an ordeal that Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age Concern in Suffolk, labelled as the worst she had heard of in months.

“I am absolutely appalled by what I have heard about this incident - it is just so mean,” she said.

“Firstly, if this woman is visiting a grave she is obviously grieving and secondly this is a 75-year-old woman alone. To attack somebody in that position is just so cowardly.

“One of the worst things is this woman will now be wary of visiting her own husband's grave and that is just not acceptable. I am so disgusted by this incident, it is the meanest thing I have heard of in months.”

Great Cornard Parish Council chairman, Peter Beer, said he was shocked by the robbery and added: “I think the person who did this must be the lowest of the low.

“It is heartless to do this to a pensioner at any time, but is disgraceful that this has happened to someone visiting the graves of loved ones at Christmas time.

“Anyone should be entitled to visit a cemetery is peace and complete safety and I will now ask the police to increase patrols in the area to ensure this doesn't happen again.”

The robber was described as white, aged in his early 30s, 6ft tall, of slim build, with dark, wavy hair and wearing dark-coloured jacket and trousers.

Suffolk police have issued a computer-generated image of the robber and Acting Det Insp Tobin said: “We would appeal to anyone who recognises this man or who was in the area at the time to call us.”

Anyone with information should contact Sudbury police on 01284 774300 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


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