Glasgow & West Scotland

Daughter of attempted murder victim Mary Coulter makes appeal

Mary Coulter
Image caption Mary Coulter suffered head injuries and two broken arms in the attack

The daughter of a 76-year-old woman who was assaulted by four men in her home near Wishaw has appealed for help in catching her mother's attackers.

The attack on Mary Coulter is being treated as attempted murder.

The pensioner suffered serious head injuries, major cuts to her face and two broken arms when four men forced their way into her home nine days ago.

Her daughter, Helen, said her family could not understand why she was attacked.

Ms Coulter said: "She is a loving great-grandmother who is dearly loved by all her family. She lives for her family.

"She is well known and liked in the local community.

"Just over a week ago our 76-year-old mum was brutally attacked within her own home.

"Mum is a defenceless, elderly woman who has never hurt anyone. Now she is severely scarred for the rest of her life."

Ms Coulter added: "We can't understand why anyone would carry out this cowardly attack.

"If you know who is responsible for this horrific and senseless attack on mum, or if you have any information, please do the decent thing. This has devastated the family."

Strathclyde Police said the case had horrified both police and people living across the entire west of Scotland.

Det Insp John Lamb, the officer leading the investigation, said he was "almost speechless" at the level of violence she had been subjected to.

White van

He said: "It took quite a few days before we could actually get first-hand contact with Mary, but family liaison officers have now been well-bedded.

"They have seen her on two or three occasions and she has been responding very well.

"I think you could say, while she was very, very serious, she is now as well as can be expected and is improving daily."

The detective appealed for the occupants of a white van, parked in nearby Gourlay Drive at the time of the assault, to come forward.

Mrs Coulter's son and grandson had been among three men cleared of killing Asian waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar in 1998.

Image caption Helen Coulter said she could not understand why her mother was attacked

However, police believe Mrs Coulter was not the intended victim of the attack.

The pensioner was attacked at about 05:20 on 22 March.

The four men smashed down the front door of her ground floor flat and assaulted her in the hallway with a knife and a bat.

After she ran into the street, they chased her and continued the attack.

The men ran off after Mrs Coulter's neighbours were alerted to her screams.

The Crimestoppers Charity is offering a £5,000 reward for information which leads to the arrest and prosecution of Mrs Coulter's attackers.

The suspects were all white men. They were either wearing hooded tops or had scarves over their faces. One was described as being particularly heavily built.

Mr Chhokar's murder in 1998 sparked controversy after the failure of authorities to secure a conviction.

Three men, including Ronnie Coulter and his nephew Andrew Coulter, were cleared of the killing following separate trials.

Last month the Crown Office instructed Strathclyde Police to carry out a new investigation into Mr Chhokar's murder under double jeopardy legislation introduced last year.

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