London

Woman, 82, strangled with dog lead

Catherine Smith Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Catherine Smith was left with serious injuries after being attacked in her home

An 82-year-old woman has been strangled with a dog lead in a "vicious and unprovoked" attack on her own doorstep.

Catherine Smith was found covered in blood in Lydhurst Avenue, south London sometime after 13:00 BST on 27 July.

She first saw her attacker while walking her dog near Streatham Hill, police said.

The attacker - described as a slim, black woman, about 5ft 5ins (1.67m) tall - followed Ms Smith and was waiting for her when she arrived home.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption The victim uses a mobility scooter and was heard crying for help by a passer-by

The woman repeatedly asked Ms Smith for money as she entered her house, according to police.

Later the woman rang the doorbell and asked if she could use the toilet. When Ms Smith refused, the woman forced her way in pushing Ms Smith to the floor, causing her to hit her head.

Officers said there was a struggle, during which the attacker grabbed Ms Smith's dog lead, wrapped it round her neck and started to strangle her.

The suspect then ran off in an unknown direction.

Image copyright Google
Image caption She first saw her attacker while out on her mobility scooter taking her dog for a walk

Ms Smith's cries for help alerted a passer-by who came to her aid. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries and has since been discharged.

Scotland Yard said: "This was a vicious unprovoked attack on an elderly, vulnerable woman's own doorstep. The attack has left her very distressed.

"We believe the suspect spotted Catherine in Palace Road Nature Gardens and for unknown reasons decided to follow her home, harass her and then brutally assault her."

No arrests have been made and investigations continue.

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