Teenage girls terrorise and steal from woman, 83

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The Independent Online
An 83-year-old woman terrorised in her own home by a gang of three young girls was last night suffering from "psychological trauma", police said.

The mini-skirted girls, aged 11 to 15, cut off Rosie Howes's hair with scissors during a five-hour ordeal and poured pepper and dye over her head. They then smeared make-up over the terrified woman's face before burgling her home.

Detective Inspector Denis Clark said it was essential to find the girls before they could strike again. They had befriended the woman and she let them into her council flat at Brentford, west London, on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Clark said the pensioner was not badly hurt in the attack, but added: "This is a very callous, wicked offence. Clearly we're anxious in case it were to happen again."

The girls are believed to have stolen a number of items. The pensioner was found in a terrible state by a male friend in his seventies. Mrs Howes was taken to hospital for a check-up and was later released into the care of social services.

Police believe the girls might have struck at the flat before to steal cash and valuables. Neighbours said Mrs Howes was vulnerable to attack. Police said she was the kind of lady who would sit on her balcony and let people into her flat.