EXCLUSIVE: Horrifying moment grandmother is grabbed off street by her suspected killer and forced into bush where her body was found next day – as police release image of man they want to speak to



Horrifying footage has captured the moment a woman was grabbed off the street by her suspected killer and forced towards the bush where she was later found dead.  

The body of Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, who lived in Chelmsford, Essex, was found in shrubbery near Little Heath in Romford at around 2pm on Tuesday.   

Security camera footage obtained by MailOnline captures the final moments of mother-of-two Ms Rawlings before she was bludgeoned and strangled to death.  

It comes as the Metropolitan Police released images and video this evening of a man they want to speak to in connection to the killing.

In the clip, the man is seen travelling on the 364 bus towards Dagenham at around 12.16am on Tuesday, around an hour after Ms Rawlings was last seen in the CCTV footage. 

Police said they believe the man has ‘significant information’ that could help with their ‘fast-paced investigation’. 

The CCTV of the alleged abduction, taken from a nearby house on the day before Ms Rawlings’ body was found, shows the grandmother walking on Barley Lane at 11.17pm on Monday. 

She had just left the nearby King George Hospital in Goodmayes.

Footage shows a male in dark clothing walking behind Ms Rawlings and quickening his step to catch up with her. When he reaches her, he forces his arm around hers.

She resists slightly but he forces her towards the shrubbery on a green near the busy A12. Just as they disappear from view a white car drives past.

Ms Rawlings’ body was found in the bush at 2pm on Tuesday by a man out walking his dog.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, said after releasing the latest footage of the man on the bus: ‘I would urge anyone who recognises this man to contact police immediately. 

‘We are carrying out a fast-paced investigation and I believe this man may have significant information to help us with our enquiries. If anyone sees this man, I would ask them not to approach him but to call 999.’

A post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary gave the preliminary cause of death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

The homeowner who gave MailOnline his security footage did so in order to help trace the man seen with Ms Rawlings in the minute-long clip.

He has also appealed to the driver of the white car to contact police if he has a dash cam or if he saw anything untoward as he drove past.

The homeowner has given the footage to the Metropolitan Police and believes the man was seen walking away from the area at about 11.43pm.

Ms Rawlings lived 20-miles away from Little Heath in Chelmsford, Essex.

Her devastated family yesterday left flowers by the bush where her body was found, with a message attached to one bouquet reading: ‘Mummy. I love you now, forever and always. 

‘In this s*** world you made things brighter. Forever my angel. Your Big Baby.’

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Grandmother aged in her 90s is sleeping in a tent in the remote community of Jibena


For the last five years, Mary Dadbalag, aged in her 90s and confined to a wheelchair, has been living in a tent on a verandah in the Northern Territory remote community of Jibena.

For the last three years, her granddaughter Jacqueline Phillips has been knocking on every government service provider’s door she can think of asking for help to get her grandmother a bedroom built with a toilet attached.

She said her grandmother is living in the tent at the edge of what she described as a “chicken house” because she can’t get to the nearest toilet 20 metres away over grass in her wheelchair, but she can shuffle to the edge of the verandah.

“My grandmother lives in a tent, due to her disability caused by arthritis and a nerve syndrome which makes her feet swell,” she said.

“The dwelling she lives in is slightly elevated so she can’t get into the bedroom in her wheelchair, or the bathroom.

“So when she’s in a hurry to go to the toilet, she just has to scoot off to the verandah and do a pee over the side.

“When she can give us warning, we’re able to put her in the wheelchair and wheel her out to the long drop toilets which are about 20 metres away from the main dwelling.”

Mary Dadbalag has been living in a tent on the veranda of a makeshift home.(

Supplied: JacqulinePhilips

)

Improved conditions could help grandmother stay on homeland

Ms Phillips is an Indigenous cultural awareness trainer in the Northern Territory’s largest remote community Maningrida, 45 kilometres west of Jibena on the Western Arnhem Land coast.

Jibena is one of 30 tiny homeland communities where many people prefer to live on their traditional land, rather than moving into the main community, where housing is chronically overcrowded.

A toilet in a shed in the middle of a field.
The NT Government paid for shower rails but not an accessible toilet.(

Supplied: Jacqueline Philips

)

Ms Dadbalag doesn’t know her exact age, but Ms Phillips said she has vivid memories from throughout her life in the bush including watching World War II Japanese bombers dive low over the sandflats to fire at her and other family members out collecting shellfish at low tide.

“Her living situation now isn’t good,” Ms Phillips said.

“It’s upsetting, not healthy and not hygienic. Like, her tent is just right next to where she does her toilets.

Ms Phillips said she has been appealing to both Northern Territory and federal government service providers.

“But I am always just running into a brick wall with lack of money,” she said.

A makeshift home made out of a fenced areas on a concrete slab.
Mary Dadbalag has her tent pitched on the veranda of her family’s makeshift house in Jibena.(

Supplied: Jacqueline Philips

)

Community aged care centre unable to improve home

Ms Dadbalag went to live in Maningrida’s 10-bed community-controlled Mala’la aged care for a few years but decided to return to Jibena.

“At the aged care, her spiritual wellbeing was very poor, she was always depressed because she really wanted to live on the homeland where her children are and her grandchildren. She grew up in the bush and so she just wanted to be out in the bush,” Ms Phillips said.

Jacquline Philips in a brown dress outside with green fields and red dirt behind her.
Jacqueline Phillips, Mary Dadbalag’s granddaughter, says she has tried getting in touch with every government department she can think of.(

ABC News: Jane Bardon

)

The Mala’la Aboriginal Health Service’s chief executive Ray Matthews said the facility and the outreach program staff run in Maningrida is adequately funded.

He said the local board has made it as attractive as possible for their Aboriginal residents by doing things including putting bush tucker on the menu and organising trips to remote homelands to enable elders to visit their traditional country.

But Mr Matthews said it was not funded to service residents on the homelands, apart from being able to supply some pieces of equipment like wheelchairs.

“We can provide the equipment that may assist Mary to live at home on her homeland, but for major modifications [to houses], you’re looking at major capital expenditure and that’s another totally different bucket of money from another government department not associated with Mala’la,” he said.

“But the choice of an older person to live their life out on homelands should be respected.”

Maximising connection to country as people age

The aged care royal commission recommended the federal government ensure Indigenous people get high-quality care regardless of where they live, to maximise the connection with their country.

The federal Health Department told the ABC the Government is committed to that and will respond in its forthcoming budget.

It said remote residents can get some federal funding for home modifications, like the installation of a suitable toilet, under its Commonwealth Home Support Program, but that the Northern Territory government has responsibility for its own remote homelands.

The Northern Territory Families Department told the ABC it has provided Ms Dadbalag with bathroom handrails.

“We are working with the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation and traditional owners to deliver appropriate solutions to Ms Dadbalag,” a spokesperson said.

“Substantial additional resources are required to improve housing standards and wraparound services for aged care residents in homelands.”

Ms Phillips is worried her grandmother may continue to fall through the cracks.

“There needs to be better aged care services, especially for the people on the homelands,” she said.

“We really need the federal government to listen to the very remote communities and provide that service, it’s human rights.”

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Grandmother reunites with family as charges laid over alleged attack



A man has been charged after an elderly grandmother was allegedly assaulted while opening her local church in Melbourne at the weekend.

The 36-year-old Box Hill man was arrested on Thursday and taken to Prahran police station.

On Thursday night, Victoria Police said he had been charged with intentionally causing serious injury and other similar charges, as well as robbery and theft.

Penelope Katsavos, 78, was at the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox church in South Yarra about 6.15am on Saturday when she was allegedly attacked.
She was reunited with her husband in emotionally-charged scenes today.
Thomas Katsavos, 83, lives with dementia and Ms Katsavos is his full-time carer.
Their son Evri Katsavos said it was an emotional moment.
“When dad saw her from afar then recognised who it was … he went up to her and gave her the biggest hug. That moment left us all speechless,” he said.
She was alone and injured for half an hour before a good Samaritan saw her and helped her.

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Victoria Police release CCTV after Melbourne grandmother assaulted outside South Yarra Greek Orthodox church


CCTV of a man police wish to speak to over the bashing of a Melbourne grandmother outside a church has been released.

Penelope Katsavos was opening the Greek Orthodox Church in South Yarra on Saturday around 6.15am when she was attacked.

A man allegedly grabbed the 78-year-old’s shopping trolley, punched her in the face, pushed her over and kicked her.

On Tuesday, police said they located her trolley in a nearby street with the personal items intact.

They have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to over the incident.

He has been described as Caucasian in appearance, with a thin build, dark coloured hair, moustache and was wearing a brown t-shirt, dark coloured pants and shoes.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information have been urged to contact police.

Katsavos’ son Evri told 7NEWS she suffered bleeding on the brain, a fractured pelvis and wrist, as well as severe bruising.

He said council street cleaners called police after they found her on the church steps.

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Grandmother bashed at church does not believe attacker knew what he was doing as search ramps up



A grandmother viciously attacked at her Orthodox church in Melbourne says she is not angry at the offender and is thankful to the person who helped her.

Penelope Katsavos, 78, was at the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox church in South Yarra about 6.15am on Saturday when she was ruthlessly attacked.

Today she said a good Samaritan came to her aid and asked what had happened to her.

“I say I don’t know what’s happened,” Ms Katsavos said.
“He give me the bottle of water and hold me and sit down there, and I think he called the police.”
Yesterday the victim’s family described her as a wonderful woman who did not deserve such an awful thing to happen to her.
“She’s the best … she’s everything you could want in a mother-in-law or a grandmother,” her daughter-in-law Erin Katsavos said.
“It’s just unbelievable that someone could do that to another human being, but she doesn’t believe that he knew what he was doing.”
Police have released CCTV of a man they want to speak to in relation to the shocking incident.
Today, Senior Constable Turhan Peker described the assault as a “callous, violent and horrendous attack” and urged the offender to come forward.

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Melbourne grandmother left bleeding after brutal bashing outside South Yarra Greek Orthodox church


A Melbourne grandmother has been left with horrific injuries after being bashed outside a church over the weekend.

Penelope Katsavos was opening the Greek Orthodox Church in South Yarra on Saturday morning when she was viciously attacked.

A man grabbed the 78-year-old’s shopping trolley, punched her in the face, pushed her over and kicked her while she was on the ground.

Katsavos suffered bleeding on the brain, a fractured pelvis and wrist, as well as severe brusing.

Her injuries are so bad it’s feared she may never fully recover from the brutal attack.

The grandmother-of-six was left helpless and bleeding on the steps outside the church for at least 15 minutes following the attack.

Council street cleaners called police and tried to comfort the 78-year-old after they found her.

Her son Evri described the attacker as “gutless”.

“It saddens me to talk about… to think about the pain that she actually went through,” Evri told 7NEWS.

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Grandmother Mansis Bandi avoids jail after biting off friend’s finger during drunken fight



A grandmother who bit off her friend’s finger during a drunken fight in Melbourne’s south-east has avoided jail.

Mansis Bandi, 50, from Pakenham, had been drinking alcohol at a party at a friend’s farmhouse in Cranbourne in October 2017, when she got into an argument with a friend.

The victim was not happy that Bandi was with a married man.


A fight then erupted, with the pair falling to the ground while punching and scratching each other.
Bandi then bit off her friend’s left ring finger, which had to be amputated.
She was also injured in the fight and sustained bite marks.
Judge George Georgiou said Bandi did not instigate the altercation and acted in a way which she believed was self-defence, but took it too far.

Bandi is a respected leader of the Papua New Guinean community in Melbourne.

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Tributes flow for Queensland grandmother who died in a suspicious house fire



This article contains references to domestic violence.

A Queensland grandmother who perished in a suspicious house fire had recently taken out a protection order.

Tributes are flowing for 49-year-old Doreen Langham on social media pages that campaign against domestic violence.

Media reports have also named Ms Langham as a victim of Monday’s blaze, south of Brisbane, along with a 49-year-old man identified as her ex-partner Gary Hely.

Police are yet to formally identify the bodies found inside the blackened shell of a Browns Plains home and are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Investigators believe the fire was deliberately lit.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk spoke of the tragedy on Tuesday, saying: “It’s unbelievable this is happening in this day and age.”

On Monday, Acting Detective Inspector Daniel Cunningham said it could take investigators up to a week to prepare a report about the cause of the blaze.

He confirmed a temporary protection order was issued by Beenleigh Magistrates Court on February 9, without confirming any identities.

Speaking on Tuesday, Chief Superintendent Brian Swan said the investigation will be overviewed by the state coroner as a death in relation to a police investigation.

Mr Swan stated the reason being, is that enquiries indicate that on the night before the fire there was a phone call made to police, and that police did attend the unit.

“The call was made in the evening of Sunday … some time after 9pm, and police attended, it would seem after midnight.”

Police do not know the full extent of enquires at the scene before the fire, but that will be examined in detail in the coronial investigation, Mr Swan said.

Police are calling for anyone with information about the couple or the blaze to come forward.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. 

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au and lifeline.org.au.

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Trial of NSW highway patrol officer involved in high-speed crash with Sydney grandmother ends in hung jury


The trial of a NSW highway patrol officer accused of dangerous driving over a crash that left a Sydney grandmother with a permanent brain injury has ended in a hung jury.

Senior Constable Harry Thomas Little was pursuing a driver using their mobile phone at Cronulla as part of a state-wide crackdown in September 2018.

His car’s warning lights and siren were off as he reached speeds of 135 kilometres per hour just before colliding with a Mercedes-Benz driven by Gai Vieira, when she pulled out from a side street.

The 42-year-old argued he held an honest and reasonable belief that he had activated the lights, but the button in his fully marked Ford Falcon didn’t work.

After about seven-and-a-half hours of deliberation across two days, the jury today told judge Sarah Huggett there was no prospect of a unanimous decision.

In a note, the panel said the discussions had been “courteous, open and respectful”, but no juror would change their mind.

Gai Vieira will likely never recover from her brain injury.(Supplied: Facebook)

Judge Huggett told jurors they shouldn’t view the outcome as a failure.

“The system is working if in fact you reach the decision that you can’t reach a unanimous verdict,” she said.

“It happens on occasions.”

The NSW District Court trial heard there were no mechanical defects found in the vehicle, but a full test wasn’t able to be done on the button panel due to damage.

Senior Constable Little’s barrister, Hament Dhanji SC, pointed jurors to evidence from other senior officers who recalled their own troubles with an “intermittent fault” that affected the buttons.

The Crown highlighted evidence from another colleague, Sergeant Grant Howell, who recalled a conversation he had with Senior Constable Little as they were driving away from the crash scene.

Senior Constable Little said words to the effect of “I didn’t have a chance to put my lights on”, according to Sgt Howell.

The wreck of a Mercedes-Benz which has the right driver's side cut out and the back side crushed.
Damage to Gai Vieira’s Mercedes-Benz following a crash involving a police car in Cronulla.(Supplied)

But the court heard two weeks later when Senior Constable Little gave a written account of the incident, he claimed to have pressed the warning light button as he overtook a learner driver, prior to the impact.

Senior Constable Little told the jury his memory of the lead-up to the crash was clear but it became “hazy” after the impact, due to whiplash and other injuries.

He could not recall the conversation with Sgt Howell.

Senior Constable Little — an officer of some 15 years at the time, who received medals for diligent service — also claimed there were three occasions prior to the crash where he thought he’d turned his lights or siren on, but the button hadn’t worked.

The court heard Mrs Vieira, 68, suffered a traumatic brain injury “from which she will likely never recover”.

The police vehicle had an in-car video system which Senior Constable Little turned on during the pursuit.

But jurors were told the final eight seconds of footage before the crash were “missing” because the memory card ejected, either during heavy braking or during the impact.

The case will be mentioned in court next week.

Outside court, Mrs Vieira’s husband Bert said the family was disappointed and shocked.

“We thought it’s very straight forward,” he said.

“She’s in the condition she is … a wheelchair, can’t move her arms, can’t move her legs, fed through a tube in her chest.

“That’s not fair. All we want is a little bit of justice.”

The family said they would sit through a re-trial if they had to.

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Grandmother seeks to downgrade charge over toddler’s death in Sturt Highway crash, court told


A grandmother accused of causing the death of her two-year-old granddaughter in a car crash is seeking to downgrade the charge against her, the Adelaide Magistrates Court has heard.

Semaphore Park woman Valda Patricia Porter was driving along the Sturt Highway when her car hit a parked truck at the intersection with Job Road at Shea-Oak Log, north-east of Gawler, in July.

Her two-year-old granddaughter from Grange was one of the passengers in the car and was killed in the crash.

A six-year-old girl who was also a passenger in the car sustained serious injuries and was taken to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Ms Porter, 64, sustained serious injuries and had to be airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Valda Patricia Porter appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court.(ABC News)

She was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard her lawyer and the prosecution were in negotiations over the charge.

Her lawyer said it was a “tragic” family incident, and he anticipated seeking the lesser charge of driving without due care for his client.

But prosecutors told the court they would proceed with the original charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

The matter will return to court in February.

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