Crime forces elderly woman from Spring Gully home

An elderly woman has been driven out of her Spring Gully home following a break-in that has left her traumatised, in one of a series of recent incidents that have angered residents of the area.

Elwyn Di Francesco and Jenny Mullane, the daughters of the 86-year-old, said their mother was angry and distressed after a juvenile offender allegedly broke into her home last month while she was asleep in bed.

The youth allegedly stole several personal items including her wallet, and with her bank card withdrew $1000.

The day after the break-in, the woman moved in with Mrs Mullane and her husband, with no plans to return.

“[She’s] terrible, she’s been shifted out of her home,” Mrs Mullane said.

“She loved her home, loved her garden… she’s been dislodged from her community,” Mrs Di Francesco added.

The youth, who police confirmed was known to them, was charged in relation to the break-in and bailed to appear at a children’s court next month.

The fact the alleged offender was known to police and then bailed has left Mrs Mullane and Mrs Di Francesco “disgusted” with the judicial system, which they say is out of touch with community expectations.

“The police are doing their job, but it’s not getting any further,” Mrs Mullane said.

Mrs Mullane and Mrs Di Francesco said they had been told by police that the juvenile was linked to two other youths who were believed to be connected to a recent string of crimes in the area.

But it was not only their mother who had been affected, the sisters said, with neighbours, some elderly, also left disturbed by the spate of offences.

“They’re terrified,” Mrs Di Francesco said.

Debbie and Trevor, neighbours of the 86-year-old who did not want their full names to be used, told the Bendigo Advertiser that they had also had concerning encounters with unruly youths in the area.

A few weeks ago they caught three young people with torches in their next-door neighbour’s backyard.

Debbie said one of them threatened to slit her throat and warned her that they would return after she confronted them.

The young people also told her they would kill another neighbour’s dog, she said.