Portsmouth mugging victim, 91, tells of her ordeal

Elizabeth Dowse
Elizabeth Dowse
Dennis Jennings

Jail for Portsmouth man who terrorised woman and warned her children ‘would be burnt to a crisp’

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FRAIL Elizabeth Dowse doesn’t want to go out on her own any more after a thug attacked and robbed her.

The 91-year-old grandmother was pushed in the back as she tried to walk into the block of flats where she lives in Wimpole Street, Landport, Portsmouth.

She fell to the ground and hurt her left arm and a finger as the thief snatched her handbag and fled.

Mrs Dowse – who is known as Beth – was on her way back from collecting her £150 weekly state pension at The Bridge Shopping Centre’s post office, in Fratton, when the cowardly attack happened some time after 1pm on Wednesday.

Her navy blue leather bag, which had a pink flower on the side, contained her pension and a purse with a few extra notes and bank cards.

Mrs Dowse, a former cook for the British Army, said: ‘I don’t want to go out alone now.

‘I was just walking along talking to myself when all of a sudden I felt someone push me to the ground.

‘The next thing I knew my handbag was gone.

‘I had my walking stick in my other hand and I thought I would hit him but I couldn’t reach him and he ended up getting away.

‘I managed to catch a glimpse of the back of him as he ran away down the road.

‘I wanted to run after him but I have arthritis.

‘He must have had plimsolls on or something because I’ve never seen anyone run so fast.

‘I’m annoyed to think I didn’t hear him and see what was happening.

‘I have lived here for 43 years and I have done that walk to the post office so often.

‘I have never seen a soul outside the flats when I come back.’

‘Thankfully, I’m careful with money and I had already put a bit aside for my bills.’

Afterwards Mrs Dowse couldn’t get up from the ground and shouted for help.

It was a few minutes before someone heard and rang for an ambulance.

Mrs Dowse was then taken to the minor injuries unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Milton, before she was discharged later in the afternoon.

She has four grandchildren; Natalie, 43, Katharine, 41, Lyndsey, 40, and Rachel, 42, as well as six great-grandchildren.

Her son Edward Dowse, 70, of Bedhampton, found out what happened when the ambulance service called him.

‘I was completely shocked,’ he said.

‘I couldn’t believe that someone could do that to an old lady – my dear mum.

‘I’m concerned about her and what it is like in this area and whether this is common over Portsmouth.

‘I am hoping that we can move her out into a smaller place.

‘I want the police to catch the person who did this.

‘Someone would have to be extremely cruel to target a 91-year-old.’

As previously reported, police are treating the incident as a ‘particularly despicable’ crime as the elderly victim is likely to have been targeted specifically due to her age. Officers have been carrying out house-to-house enquiries.

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to contact CID at Fratton Police Station by calling 101.