Gladys, 87, is mugged for £10

An 87-year-old blind woman last night told of her trauma after she was mugged by cowardly thieves - for the sake of £10 and a bag of groceries. Gladys Yarham, who lives in sheltered housing in Norwich, suffered a dislocated shoulder, concussion and bruising to her head after being attacked from behind while out shopping.

An 87-year-old blind woman last night told of her trauma after she was mugged by cowardly thieves - for the sake of £10 and a bag of groceries.

Gladys Yarham, who lives in sheltered housing in Norwich, suffered a dislocated shoulder, concussion and bruising to her head after being attacked from behind while out shopping.

After the mugging she had to crawl more than 200-yards home to seek help from fellow residents.

This weekend the pensioner, who has suffered from a degenerative eye condition for 15 years, was recovering and being cared for by family. She told the EDP: “The injuries will heal but now I'll think twice about leaving home alone.”

Police investigating the attack described it as “thankfully rare” but “heartless”. They moved to reassure Norfolk's elderly community, particularly those living in sheltered accommodation in the city's Recorder Road area where the attack took place.

Det Sgt Neil Stewart said: “This was a particularly nasty attack on a vulnerable victim. Attacks of such severity are still unusual in the county. We would urge residents to be vigilant but not panic unduly.”

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The attack happened at about 10am on Thursday as Mrs Yarham returned home from nearby shops. She had taken a short-cut through Stuart Gardens and decided to rest on a bench before continuing her journey.

The next thing she remembered was being hit around the back of the head, possibly with a stick, and tumbling to the floor. The thieves then wrestled her bag away with such force that they injured her arm in the process.

Because of her eye condition and the fact she was attacked from behind, Mrs Yarham has been unable to describe the offenders to police. Officers believe there may have been two attackers and it seems likely they targeted the area as it is mainly frequented by elderly people.

Mrs Yarham was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where she remained overnight. Her son, Tony Yarham, said he found it difficult to believe the violence used.

“She is in her eighties and carries a white stick - anybody can see how frail she is just by looking at her and that is probably why they singled her out,” he said.

“Mum is a resilient character who has overcome difficulties before but I can't help but fear this will knock her confidence. All the other residents in her sheltered housing block are in a state of shock. This is something which has affected the whole community.”

Officers are keen to speak to a number of people who are believed to have been in the area at the time of the incident and may have witnessed what happened. They are also keen to speak to anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously.

The gardens are overlooked by flats and are often used as a thoroughfare to nearby shops. Mrs Yarham's emptied bag was retrieved from a bin near the gardens and is being checked for forensic evidence.

Mrs Yarham has lived in Norwich since 1963. She lived independently until the death of her husband two years ago when she decided to move to receive extra support. She said: “I don't want to let this get me down and would like to carry on being as independent as possible because I don't like relying on other people and think it is important to keep active.

“I used to enjoy going for walks along the river - it was one of the things I liked to do because, with my eye condition, I can't read a book and things like that.

“But I don't feel ready to go out on my own again yet and I certainly won't take the same route again because it will always remind me of what happened.

“The other residents have been shaken by what happened and I think they are nervous about going out too. They've been very supportive and I've had lots of get well soon cards.”

t Contact Det Sgt Neil Stewart at Bethel Street CID on 0845 456 4567.

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