The PSNI has been urged to continue extra patrols in a village where a pensioner was hospitalised after falling from an upstairs window during a burglary at her home.
A prayer meeting was due to be held in the Co Tyrone village of Aughnacloy on Tuesday night to wish a speedy recovery for Pat Davidson, an 83-year-old grandmother who remains in hospital after suffering serious injuries in the fall.
She was found lying in her garden shortly after the burglary on Tuesday last week, and was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital, where she has remained for the past week.
She was described as being in a “stable” condition by a spokesperson for the Southern Trust.
Fears had been expressed in the aftermath of the incident, which police are treating as attempted murder, for the elderly in the area.
Neither the PSNI nor the police force in the Republic of Ireland, An Garda Síochána, would confirm press reports that a 27-year-old man from Dublin had emerged as the chief suspect in the crime.
Within days of the incident, the PSNI’s district commander for the Mid Ulster area, Superintendent Mike Baird, had pledged “additional officers out on patrol” as he sought to assure the community that “tackling burglaries is a major priority for the officers of this district”.
However, the Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton has warned that the extra patrols cannot be seen as a “temporary solution”.
She said: “People have been absolutely disgusted with what has happened. To prey on the elderly and the vulnerable is totally unacceptable.
“There are thoughts in the area that security needs to be sustained. It is fine swamping the area after the incident.
“That is very well but that presence of the PSNI must continue in the area, to reassure those elderly that there is support for them.”
She added: “This cannot be a temporary solution. It must be a long-term, sustainable solution. One person being left the way this lady has been left is too many.
“She is obviously very seriously injured, she is still in hospital and I understand she will be there for another period of time.”
Rev Ian McKee, speaking ahead of the prayer meeting at Ballymagrane Presbyterian Church, said: “We’re praying for her complete recovery, and for her family – her two sons and her grandchildren in particular.”