Two boys arrested over pensioner killed during west London mugging

 

Two boys were arrested on suspicion of murder today by police investigating the death of a partially-sighted pensioner after being mugged.

Paula Castle, 85, was robbed in an alleyway off Oldfield Lane South in Greenford, west London, at 1.50pm on Monday and died in hospital.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said two males - aged 14 and 15 - are in custody and are due to be questioned at a London police station.

Mrs Castle, 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 yesterday.

A post-mortem examination took place today at Uxbridge Mortuary and found her cause of death to be head injuries.

Police said officers believe two males approached the pensioner 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.

Residents in Greenford spoke of their shock and anxiety about using the alleyway 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.

"When the news emerged, a lot of people got in touch to check it wasn't me.

"The fact it happened in broad daylight when a lot of people were around is terrible."

Mo Mian, 32, a prison officer, said of Mrs Castle: "She was a very quiet person.

"I felt sick when I found out what happened to her.

"She was independent and doing her thing, she was definitely taken before her time."

Police said the two boys were also arrested on suspicion of robbery, which relates to a separate incident yesterday.

Detective Chief Inspector 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."

Police urged anyone with information to call the incident room on 020 8721 4868, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

PA

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