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Hackney police criticised for 999 delay

PUBLISHED: 09:11 05 May 2016 | UPDATED: 09:11 05 May 2016

Hackney police has apologised to an 80-year-old Clapton woman after ignoring five desperate 999 calls after she was assaulted and robbed at night after letting in a stranger who buzzed her door.

Hackney police has apologised to an 80-year-old Clapton woman after ignoring five desperate 999 calls after she was assaulted and robbed at night after letting in a stranger who buzzed her door.

Archant

Police have apologised for taking nearly two hours to respond to several frantic 999 calls made when a vulnerable 80-year-old woman was robbed in her own home.

Hackney police has apologised to an 80-year-old Clapton woman after ignoring five desperate 999 calls after she was assaulted and robbed at night after letting in a stranger who buzzed her door.Hackney police has apologised to an 80-year-old Clapton woman after ignoring five desperate 999 calls after she was assaulted and robbed at night after letting in a stranger who buzzed her door.

Police have apologised for taking nearly two hours to respond to several frantic 999 calls made when a vulnerable 80-year-old woman was robbed in her own home.

Neighbours say they had the attacker cornered in the Nightingale Estate, Lower Clapton – but the slow response time meant he was able to escape.

Maria Santos let the stranger into her Geldestone Road home after he called at her door, but he made off with her flat screen TV and pushed her against a wall when she tried to stop him.

Neighbours rushed to help the former nurse after hearing her “piercing” screams.

"This is Hackney – when we punch 999 it’s not to ask the price of eggs. Maria was shocked, the screams were absolutely piercing."

Stuart Round

They chased the attacker, who was dressed-in-black, as he ran towards Cazenove Road and saw him enter the Nightingale Estate.

Mrs Santos’ carer, Stuart Round, heard her cries from the corner shop and made after the culprit.

He said: “We had them essentially cornered, the drama was unfolding and we made several calls as we waited outside.”

But after an hour the group returned home, realising police were not coming.

Mr Round continued: “This is Hackney – when we punch 999 it’s not to ask the price of eggs. Maria was shocked, the screams were absolutely piercing. When you are 80 you expect a faster response. His next vulnerable victim may not escape serious injury so well.”

Acting inspector Fiona Murphy said “high demand” at the time of the call on April 7 led to the “regrettable delay”.

“Our handlers established the victim was with neighbours and the suspect had run away,” she said.

“The call received a standard response grading, with a target arrival time within one hour.

“Public safety is of paramount importance and we apologise for the anguish caused.”

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