Police in murder hunt after OAP dies in mugging

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Detectives investigating the murder of a partially-sighted pensioner who died after being mugged named her yesterday as 85-year-old Paula Castle.

Mrs Castle was robbed in an alleyway off Oldfield Lane South in Greenford, west London, at 1.50pm on Monday.

The victim, who is registered blind, was found with a head injury and taken to Ealing Hospital, then transferred to St Mary’s Hospital, where she died shortly after 2am on Tuesday.

Scotland Yard said officers believe two black males approached the victim from behind and stole her handbag.

In the process the widow, who lived alone, was assaulted and fell to the pavement.

The suspects, who were dressed in dark clothing, ran off in the direction of Farndale Crescent with the handbag, which was recovered from the scene by officers.

Det Chief Insp Russell Taylor, of the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen the sequence of events which will have occurred in a potentially busy area of Greenford in daylight.

“We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the victim or the suspects at the time.”

A post-mortem examination was due to take place yesterday afternoon at Uxbridge Mortuary.

Residents in Greenford spoke of their shock and anxiety about using the alley way where Mrs Castle was attacked.

A lone bunch of flowers was tied to railings at the alley’s entrance.

A card attached to it read: “RIP (lady in alley). What a senseless waste of a good life xxx.”

Trudy Shipp, 85, who lives near the crime scene, said she had been inundated with calls from concerned friends who thought she might have been the victim.

The former lollipop lady said: “I have never been frightened of using the alley because I have lived here since 1974 and I’ve always used it.

“I even used to use it in the dark to go to the shops but never again.”

Dadi Shroff, 74, said he lived near the victim but did not know her as she kept herself to herself and lived alone after the deaths of her husband and son.

He said: “She hardly spoke to anyone. She was very reserved, even with me, and I have lived here for 30 years.”