Attack on 78-year old woman in downtown Victoria calls into question safety in the downtown core

Attack on 78-year old woman in downtown Victoria calls into question safety in the downtown core
WatchAn assault on a 78-year old woman in Victoria earlier this year is calling into question safety in the downtown core. A 37-year old was sentenced to a year behind bars for the attack -- and it's not the only case of seniors being targetted. As Mary Griffin reports -- we're in the midst of a troubling trend of attacks on the islands' oldest population. And a warning --- some of the images in this story may be disturbing for some viewers.

Henne Stibbe is a spry 78-year old. She gets around the city by walking and taking the bus everywhere.

“I’ll go jump on go to Fairway on Quadra, go downtown. I’ll go to Langford, and I walk around Langford. I go to Oak Bay, to the Gorge,” Stibbe said.

But on May 15, while concentrating on catching the Number Six bus home from downtown Victoria, Stibbe ignored a male panhandler calling out to her.

“He spat on me. I still ignored him. Then he came at me with his fists. I thought, oh god. So I stuck out my cane. I screamed at him, get away from me!” Stibbe said.

But 37-year old Bryon Thomas Hobbs threw her down on the ground. And kicked her in the stomach.

“So this was all bleeding and scrapped. And this was all bleeding and scrapped, and then my ribs were bruised,” Stibbe said.

This is one of three violent assaults against senior citizens on Vancouver Island this summer.

While sitting in his car in the early hours of July 31st in Courtenay, a man attacked 89-year-old Bob Plum with a machete.

“He started slashing me with a machete at my head and he kept slashing at me probably six or eight times,” Plum said.

Police are still investigating with no suspects in custody. And a woman remains in custody after she attacked, and robbed an 85-year-old man in a wheelchair last week in Port Alberni. Stibbe’s daughter, Audrey Stibbe, wants her mother to move out of Victoria and closer to her.

“Seniors are becoming vulnerable as more and more people are sitting on the street wanting money. They don’t care who they take money from. They just want money,” Stibbe said.

For Stibbe, the heroes are the people who helped her that day.

“If you can somehow let people know the kindness of people on the street, total strangers, who put themselves out,” Stibbe said.

Hobbs could be back out on the streets by January.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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