Police chief makes vow to catch culprit after ‘cold and calculated’ attack

Lothian and Borders Police Inspector Paula Clark
Lothian and Borders Police Inspector Paula Clark

POLICE have described the assault and robbery of an 81-year-old woman last Friday night as “callous” and “despicable”.

And a local businessman has offered a £100 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.

Inspector Paula Clark said this week that every effort is being made to catch the culprit, with specialist search team officers from Edinburgh combing the area for forensic evidence on Saturday.

She told the Hawick News: “We have had full shifts that were on over the weekend and throughout this entire week patrolling, not only this area, but other areas in the town.

“They have been working tirelessly to progress this enquiry.

“This was a callous and despicable thing to do to an 81-year-old woman.”

The elderly lady left the Burns Club at around 9pm with her friend and walked with her to Dovemount Place.

They then parted company and the woman continued on alone to Wilton Hill Terrace, where her attacker struck at around 9.30pm.

She was pushed to the ground and suffered minor head injuries before the suspect stole her handbag and ran off.

Inspector Clark said the attacker was “cold” and “calculated” and can’t rule out the possibility that the lady may have been followed from the club.

He is described as being a white male, aged around 20, slim and between five-and-a-half feet to six feet tall. At the time of the incident he was wearing a dark hooded top with the hood pulled around his face.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen the women walking to get in touch.

They are also keen to hear from the driver of a dark-coloured car, which was in the Wilton Hill area outside the Premier Store around 9.15pm. It is understood the driver would have had to take evasive action due to a pedestrian running onto the roadway.

Inspector Clark added: “We are determined to trace the person responsible and I appeal to anyone who was in the area of Dovemount Place, Havelock Street or Wilton Hill around that time to contact us as soon as possible as they may have some vital information.

“This is usually a busy area of the town and people would have been passing by. I don’t want anyone to discount any information. It is very unusual for something like this to happen in Hawick.”

Anyone with information can contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers in complete confidence on 0800 555 111.

Meanwhile, Inspector Clark has moved to reassure the public that they are doing everything in their power to address the crime situation in the town.

She said: “I know that people will be concerned, as we have had a spate of thefts in recent weeks. We are preparing a report in relation to one man for the slip-in thefts in the Weensland Road area and are progressing enquiries for incidents up the West End. Be assured, we are doing all we can in relation to these cases.”

She also warned the public to be vigilant against the rise in slip-in thefts.

“If doors remain unlocked, windows ajar, and purses, handbags and other valuable items are left on open display, it only takes seconds to enter an insecure property or smash a window,” she said.