I’ve walked past the end of this footpath so many times but have never used it. Two days ago an elderly woman was assaulted here as two men stole her handbag. She died in hospital yesterday morning so the incident is now regarded as murder. The police have launched an appeal for information. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that local residents, especially but not exclusively the elderly, are now frightened of using it at all, as the attack took place in daylight. There are things that might help make this a safer place, cutting back trees and hedges, removing litter as soon as it appears, CCTV. The footpath, which connects Oldfield Lane South with Goring Way, is not shown on maps. It has probably been in use since the 1930’s. Closing it off would mean a very long detour but it may be the price residents are prepared to pay for their own peace of mind. I am concerned that those would do us harm can have such a marked effect on our behaviour and choices, a cost far higher than any sum spent on preventing a similar incident. I wonder if those responsible for the death of a fragile pensioner still think it was worth it.
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