Great grandma sleeps with light on after savage attack

A GREAT grandma who was attacked as she went for a blood test says she is so terrified she now has to sleep with the light on.

Frail Veronica Heyes, 80, who hails from Wigan, was knocked to the ground in an horrific attack by drug-addled Lynette Oakey from City Road, Kitt Green.

Veronica Hayes, known as Vera, after she was robbed by Lynette Oakey

Veronica Hayes, known as Vera, after she was robbed by Lynette Oakey

The distraught widow, who has more than 30 grandchildren and great grandchildren, told the Observer: “I was a mess, my face was black, my wrist was severely swollen and there were bruises everywhere.

“My face looked so bad I didn’t want my grandchildren seeing me, the youngest is only three.

“I didn’t go out for three weeks because I was so scared. I’m a tough nut - I’m a Wigan girl - but this knocked me for six. I have to sleep with the light on, which I’ve never ever done in my life.”

The terrifying incident happened in September as Oakey, 34, who was loitering at the gates of the Geoffrey Street health centre in Preston, pestered the elderly lady for a cigarette twice even though she told her she didn’t smoke.

Her eyes frightened me. She was like a wild thing. I felt she was on drugs because her pupils were so big. She looked possessed

Veronica Heyes

As the pensioner, who is on the blood thinning treatment Warfarin, walked to her appointment, Oakey pounced on her and snatched her walking stick to make her lose her balance.

Mrs Heyes, who hit her head, face and wrist as she fell, screamed for help as Oakey, yanked her handbag strap over her head and fled, leaving her on the floor.

But her escape was short lived thanks to two have a go heroes.

Delivery driver James Owens, who was dropping off goods at the nearby chemists, rugby tackled her to the ground and held her, with the help of passer by Kerry Holder until police got there, despite Oakey’s attempts to bite them.

Lynnette Oakey

Lynnette Oakey

Their dramatic intervention was caught on CCTV.

Mrs Heyes, a retired steward for Fishwick Ramblers bowling club, needed to have a brain scan due to concerns over a large egg shaped lump on her head.

She said: “Her eyes frightened me. She was like a wild thing. I felt she was on drugs because her pupils were so big. She looked possessed.

“It was absolutely horrible. I was in a bad way, I was shaking. I have bad legs because I need a knee replacement and another knee replacement went wrong, so I rely on my crutch.

“I was a prime target. I was helpless without my crutch. She would have known that - but she knocked it out of my hand and knocked me to the floor.

“She didn’t say anything, but my bag had been securely strapped to my front so she had to knock me over to pull it over my head.

“She needs to be put away. She can’t be on the streets doing this to people. It’s happening too often to the elderly. An animal wouldn’t do this.

Mrs Heyes grew up in Beech Hill, attended Sacred Heart school and her grandad used to lead the Whit Sunday parades.

Her parents, the Halligans, used to be the stewards of Beech Hill Labour club.

Mrs Heyes worked as a confectioner before meeting her husband Jack, a Leyland Motors worker, with whom she had eight children.

Sadly, he passed away aged 47 from a heart attack.

She had been due to meet one of her sons for lunch after her appointment but never made it.

She said: “I had arranged to meet my son afterwards. I didn’t have my phone. I said I’d only be half an hour. I was in hospital the rest of the day.

“I felt empty inside. I couldn’t stop thinking ‘why me?’”

Oakey, an amateur photographer who attended Crufts earlier this year, admitted robbery.

She has failed to turn up at court twice for sentencing and will be dealt with on a date to be confirmed.