Drivers ignored disabled woman’s pleas after daylight attack

Rosena Stewart had her handbag snatched. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Rosena Stewart had her handbag snatched. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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MOTORISTS drove past a disabled woman calling for help after she had been assaulted and robbed by a thug in broad daylight.

Rosena Stewart was walking to the supermarket to buy a birthday card for her niece when her handbag was snatched from her shoulder.

The 52-year-old, who has Huntington’s Disease, a neurological disorder which causes cognitive decline and psychiatric problems, said she was terrified as she was thrown to the ground during the assault. Her shoulder was badly dislocated in the attack.

Unable to move, she was left sprawled on the pavement for several minutes before managing to pull herself up and moving into the road to try and flag down passing vehicles.

Despite her cries for help, however, vehicles passed without stopping.

Police are still hunting for her mugger and have appealed for witnesses to the attack – which happened in West Granton Road on Thursday, June 7 – to come forward.

Today, the normally cheerful mother-of-two told how she is afraid to leave her house and has no feeling in her left arm, which she expects to carry in a sling for weeks.

She said: “I left home at about 11.30am and I was going to Morrisons to buy two birthday cards for my wee niece and this person pulled me that fast that it really hurt my shoulder. I was trying to get myself off the ground but I couldn’t move. I was so sore.

“I was so frightened but angry with myself for letting him do it. I thought, you b******! I hated him.

“I got up and I was nearly in the middle of the road trying to get help from someone, but the cars were not stopping. I was shouting, ‘I’ve been attacked!’ Then two nurses stopped and they looked after me.”

Mrs Stewart was rushed to the Western General before being transferred to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and treated for a dislocated shoulder.

Mrs Stewart said the stolen bag contained £150, her Huntington’s ID badge and keys to her flat. The locks on her doors have all had to be changed.

The suspect, who made off with the handbag towards Pennywell Road, was white, around five feet tall, with a slim build and wearing a dark hooded top and trousers.

Detectives said they do not know if the person they are looking for is male or female as Mrs Stewart did not see her attacker’s face.

Mrs Stewart said: “I was very frightened and I’m not going out now. It will be ages before I can go back out. I used to go out to the shops every day.”

Mrs Stewart was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease in 2004. She suffers from involuntary body spasms, speech impairment and bouts of depression. Relatives also visit regularly to help her get washed and dressed, and prepare meals.

Mrs Stewart’s sister, Irene Hay, 60, said: “She’s always been so cheerful. She tries not to let things bother her and loves company.

“It’s been quite a shock for us. We are a well known family in the area and everybody knows Rosena – they are all very angry about this. The fact she’s so vulnerable – that’s what makes us mad.”

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “This was a sickening and opportunistic assault and robbery on a clearly vulnerable woman and we are carrying out inquiries in the area to identify the person responsible.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0131-311 3131.