Neighbours left shaken by violent attack

Last updated 16:51 23/06/2013
PERSON OF INTEREST: William Murphy is the man who attempted to use a card taken during an attack in Westmere.
Sylvie van de Geer
SAD AFFAIR: An emotional Sylvie van de Geer, daughter of the victim, speaks to the media in Auckland today.

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Police have released the name of a man they think is responsible for a string of robberies targeting the elderly around Auckland.

William Murphy, 36, known as "Willy", is urgently being sought by police after being identified as the man attempting to use an ATM card stolen in one of the robberies.

There have been eight robberies across Auckland in the last six days and Murphy was identified as a key person of interest.

Detective inspector Karen Malthus said he was "transient" and known to move between Kaitaia and Manurewa.

The daughter of last night's victim - an elderly woman who was bound, assaulted and robbed in her Pakuranga home - gave a tearful account of the effects on her mother.

Sylvie van de Geer, described how her mum was thrown against furniture, wrestled to the ground and repeatedly punched in the head by the assailant, who claimed to be a police officer.

Luckily the victim was "a very, very strong woman".

"Today she wanted to have a cup of tea, read her book and put her feet up," van de Geer said.

Malthus said 20 staff from around Auckland were working on the case and she urged Murphy to hand himself in.

The offending started out as prowling but she said it had since escalated over the course of the week.

There had been no sexual element to any of the crimes, Malthus confirmed.

Anyone who has information about these offences or the person using the card linked to the series of robberies should call police on 111 or Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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- Fairfax Media

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