Fatal Sliema mugging: Elderly residents express their fear
The recent muggings in Sliema – where Rose Garroni, 80, was left for dead on the street clutching the handle of her stolen handbag – have left the elderly feeling vulnerable and scared. Nikki Abela Mercieca went to Dingli Street to hear residents’ concerns.
Virginia Camilleri, 85
I feel less safe when I’m walking alone after what happened. In fact, I try to hide my purse when I’m walking. As you can see, I’ve put it in the bag with the meat. It’s worrying almost to walk around. At home, I feel better because there will be my husband with me. Even though he’s not really a bully, it helps.
Michael Briffa, 84
I knew Rose a bit, not much but I had spoken to her several times. To be honest, at night I take a walking stick with me, not only to be stable but to feel safer and to have something to defend myself with in case of an attack.
Anna Zammit Tabona, 62
People are scared to go out now after what happened. In fact, today I didn’t bring my handbag with me on purpose. It’s strange even when you open the door at night you see a lot of men, not women. Women, in fact, don’t feel safe and rightly so.
It was sad what happened to Rose, really. I didn’t know her personally but everybody praised her for being a good woman.
David Cassar Parnis, 64
I don’t feel very safe after all these muggings. You have to be careful really. Recent events haven’t changed my routine much, however, as we haven’t reached that age yet and my wife always keeps the front door closed.
We knew Rose and, for her age, she was very independent. It didn’t show she was 80. It’s a pity because she wasn’t sick in bed and she had to die that way.
Agnes Delia, 71
I live round the corner from the lady. She used to say the rosary with me after Mass at St Patrick’s and she was so lovely. It was very sad the way she went. I don’t feel less safe after what happened to Rose. I mean the same thing happened to me twice, so I always take precautions. For example, I don’t carry a handbag anymore and I keep everything in a plastic bag.
Once a foreigner snatched my bag and ran away. I quickly went into a nearby pharmacy and started crying and a kind customer chased the thief and caught him.
Another time I was walking in front of the Ursuline Sister’s Creche at 8 p.m. when an old Ford Escort turned around the corner at speed and the passenger tried to snatch my bag from the car. But I held on to it; I think I was lucky that day.
Now, after what happened to Rose, my children keep preaching to me not to go out with a handbag. In fact, I just met one of my girls who told me to keep my purse hidden under my jacket.
Maria Arcidiacono, 70
I knew Rose and will always remember that she used to do a lot of good, even for the missionaries. I remember once she had persuaded me to keep bottle-tops for a charity.
After what happened I’ve changed my routine and I try to avoid going out at night. Even so I sometimes feel unsafe in my flat because I worry that people may have left the common door open.