Neighbours pay tribute to 'beautiful soul' of Restalrig pensioner, 79, who died after 'disturbance' at home

"She wouldn't hurt a fly," neighbours said.

Sunday, 26th January 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th January 2020, 3:28 pm

Neighbours have paid tribute to the 'beautiful soul' of a pensioner who died at her home on Restalrig Circus on Friday evening.

Police believe a man assaulted Margaret Grant, 79, with the intention to steal from her.

Ms Grant was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where she later died.

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There is still a heavy police presence in the area. Picture: Neil Hanna

Police are hunting for a 20 to 30-year-old man who was seen in the area at the time of the incident.

“She was very sweet, she wouldn’t harm anyone," said neighbour Robina Burke, 81, who had known the woman for several years.

"You couldn’t have got anybody nicer. She was a lovely wee soul."

A tearful Ms Burke added: "I can't believe it. I miss her badly. I cried all day yesterday to hear it, it broke my heart."

Elaine and Robina Burke, neighbours of the woman who died. Picture: Neil Hanna

"If I found out who it was I’ll kick his head in. I wish I would have been there, I would have kicked his head in for sure."

Ms Grant, who 'wouldn't hurt a fly', had lived in the area for 30 to 40 years, according to Ms Burke.

In the past she had been a regular church-goer, but her health had deteriorated and in the past one or two years she had become housebound and had been attended to by several carers who regularly visited the house.

A 'wee stout woman', she needed a zimmer frame to get around and was never seen out in the street, Ms Burke said.

"She kept herself to herself. I just saw her every now and again through the window," she added.

"But she was a lovely woman, a beautiful soul."

"The whole street is devastated," added Ms Burke's daughter and carer, Elaine Burke, 57.

"She didn't have any family, not that I know of."

"There are a lot of good neighbours round here, we’ll all pull together. I’ll get flowers to put in her garden to show respect."

“It’s a terrible thing, really shocking,” said Gail MacKenzie, who lives and works in the area.

“I really hope they get whoever it is.”

"It makes me scared to think about it,” said another neighbour who did not want to be named.

"It's a close community here, everyone knows everyone to say hello. We're all upset, it's really shocking."

Ms Grant had previously been a regular customer of Brave, Strong, Beautiful, a hairdressing salon around the corner from her home.

"You couldn't have met a nicer woman," said Kerry Anderson, owner of the salon.

“She was salt of the earth and really kind-hearted. She really cared about people, she would have given you her last pound if you needed it.”

Ms Grant had been a customer of the salon for 20 years, until a few years ago when she became too frail to make the short journey and Ms Anderson had attended to her in her own home.

In the past year her care package had changed and she no longer had her hair done, but Ms Anderson made a point of going out to say hello if she saw the woman being driven to the corner shop next to the salon.

“She was small and very frail, and she had a zimmer frame,” Ms Anderson said.

Ms Grant, who ‘kept herself to herself’, would chat away to Ms Anderson in the salon and ‘put the world to rights’.

She would also get out her crochet whenever she was sitting waiting for a treatment to be done.

“She crocheted a lot - she knitted little hats to be sent away for premature babies,” said Ms Anderson.

She never married and had no children, as far as Ms Anderson was aware.