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Levin community groups trying to ease anxiety among elderly after 90-year-old's beating death

Police are assisting Levin community groups to try to ease anxiety after a 90-year-old woman was beaten in her home.

Police at the cordon around a Bath Street, Levin, house, earlier in November. Source: rnz.co.nz

Grace Virtue died yesterday in hospital, three weeks after being assaulted in the Horowhenua town.

Police are now investigating her death as a homicide. Three teenagers were arrested in connection with the assault.

Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan said the community had banded together and police staff in the region were working closely with a number of groups to reassure people.

Age Concern's Levin spokesperson Dan Geraghty told Morning Report the incident had galvanised the elderly community to look after one another more, to be more aware.

"We did a short presentation just to raise awareness of safety, to raise awareness of looking after each other, knowing who your neighbours are. You know, this tragic event doesn't reflect Levin, or doesn't reflect the elderly in Levin.

"I actually passionately believe that we are one of the most caring communities in the country ... how many other agencies get rung up by a local retailer concerned about one of their customers? One of the local takeaway shops will ring up and say 'we've got an elderly person that comes in once a week to get a piece of fish and a couple of chips and she's been doing it for three or four weeks. Not sure what her name is, lives down Queen Street or somewhere like that'.

"Through the network we will track that person down, go and do a home visit, check on the welfare of that person. That's not going to stop home invasions, I make no secret of that. But it's showing the compassion and the caring of the community."

Police earlier said the three teenage girls entered the 90-year-old's house in Bath Street, Levin, on 2 November, assaulted her and stole some items.

The trio were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. They appeared in Levin District Court two days after the incident and were remanded on bail.

Police said a homicide investigation had been launched and they were still making a number of inquires.

rnz.co.nz