Greenford mugging: Boys arrested over Paula Castle death

Paula Castle
Image caption Paula Castle was attacked in an alleyway in Greenford

Two boys have been arrested after an 85-year-old woman died following a mugging in west London.

Paula Castle, a widow, was found with a head injury on Monday afternoon in an alleyway off Oldfield Lane South, Greenford. She died early on Tuesday.

The boys, aged 14 and 15, are being held on suspicion of murder.

Elderly neighbours said they were worried after the attack on the partially-sighted victim, who lived alone in West Ridge Gardens.

Mrs Castle was assaulted during the robbery and fell to the pavement. Two suspects approached her from behind and stole her handbag, police said.

A bunch of flowers was left near the entrance to the alleyway and an attached card read: "What a senseless waste of a good life."

Police said the suspects, who were dressed in dark clothing, fled towards Farndale Crescent with the handbag after knocking her down. The bag was later recovered.

'Broad daylight'

Det Ch Insp Russell Taylor 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."

Trudy Shipp, 85, who lives near the alleyway, said several concerned friends had called her thinking 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."

Alley closure call

Dadi Shroff, 74, said the victim had lived alone following the deaths of her husband and son.

He said: "She hardly spoke to anyone.

"She was very reserved, even with me, and I have lived here for 30 years."

Another neighbour, a transport manager, Paul Honor, 53, said: "A lot of people are shocked by what's happened.

"We have written to the council asking for the alley to be closed.

"My son's 15 and I've told him not to use it."

The two boys are also being held on suspicion of robbery relating to a separate incident on 20 November.

A post-mortem examination will take place later.

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