A 78-year-old woman was attacked in Courtenay Tuesday – the second incident on a senior in less than a month within the city.
On Aug. 27 around 5:10 p.m., Comox Valley RCMP were called to the area of Menzies Avenue and 3rd Street in Courtenay for a report of an elderly woman being assaulted, explained Const. Monica Terragni, media relations officer for the Comox Valley RCMP.
She noted thanks to several witnesses who stopped to intervene, 32-year-old Katherine Devlin from Vancouver was arrested a short distance away.
She has been charged with one count of assault and one count of robbery. Her next appearance will be Courtenay provincial court on Sept. 26 at 9:30 a.m.
The victim’s daughter, Denise Henley, said her mother was doing her daily walks which keeps her active and healthy when the attack occurred.
“She was walking back (home), and someone who was driving by saw someone throwing ‘haymaker’ punches at my mom. (The driver) stopped and got out of the car.”
Henley explained the witness followed the attacker, and police were able to arrest the woman.
She added Good Samaritans looked after her mother until ambulance and police arrived. She was not taken to hospital, but did receive a black eye as a result of the incident. She believes the attacker may have been trying to steal her mother’s purse.
“She’s shaken up about it. She has dementia and is vulnerable, and she looks in the mirror and is super confused about everything. We’re trying to focus on the good things – like the people who came to her help.”
According to a witness who asked not to be identified, he stopped to assist after he saw what he believed was a fight taking place.
“I stopped my truck as (the assailant) was throwing punches and peeled her off. She had the handle of the purse in her hand. I took it from her and another lady came over and called 9-1-1.”
He noted the attacker made her way down First Street towards Puntledge Park as he and another witness followed Devlin until police arrived and were able to make an arrest.
Henley noted her family has spoken to her mother about not carrying cash when out, but added they are trying to find a balance between being safe, but not living in fear while looking at larger safety concerns within the city.
“We’re struggling as we’re looking at options. It happened in the middle of the day just as my sister was bringing supper to her. It’s a busy area of downtown; it’s just unbelievable.”
On July 31, 89-year-old Bob Plumb was the victim of an unprovoked attack in downtown Courtenay by an assailant with a machete.
The incident happened shortly after 4 a.m. on the 400-block of 5th Street when Plumb was approached by a man on a bicycle who asked him for a cigarette.
Police have canvassed nearly 200 businesses for video surveillance of the initial attack; they are continuing their investigation, but have not made any arrests.
Anyone with information can call the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 and refer to file 2019-11772. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at http://comoxvalleycrimestoppers.bc.ca.