Police have released CCTV footage of a man they believe can assist with their inquiries after a grandmother was bashed outside a Greek church in Melbourne.
Penelope Katsavos was opening Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox church in South Yarra at 6am on Saturday, as she had done every week for the past 30 years.
As the 78-year-old approached the entrance, a man punched her in the face, pushed her to the ground and started kicking her, before he took her belongings and fled the scene.
Victoria Police have now shared CCTV vision of a man walking along a street as part of their investigation.
The man, who is dressed in a maroon shirt and black pants, was seen wheeling a trolley as he walked past a pedestrian.
Police have released CCTV footage of a man they believe can assist with their inquiries after a grandmother was bashed outside a Greek church in Melbourne
Penelope Katsavos’ face was covered in massive purple bruises, trailing from her right eye down to her chin (pictured left after the attack and right in hospital)
On Tuesday morning, her heartbroken son Evri and daughter-in-law Erin said the elderly woman’s ‘body is hurting’ but her ‘heart and soul are stronger than ever’.
‘She is a very religious person and she is strong, and that is what’s getting her through this,’ the young mum told Sunrise.
‘She is praying and she has complete faith that God has a plan for her.’
Mrs Katsavos was left lying on the steps of the church where she was found 30 minutes later by a street cleaner who then called police.
Her face was covered in massive purple bruises, trailing from her right eye down to her chin, and she suffered a broken wrist, a fractured pelvis and bleeding on the brain in two places.
Despite her extensive injuries, her son said her condition improved over the weekend and she can now move around.
‘She’s got full use of her left and right hands, although one of them is in a plaster, but the doctors and nurses are very happy with her progress,’ he said.
‘As long as she continues to improve then we’ll be happy.’
A photo taken in hospital shows the brave elderly woman flashing a smile as she reads from a bible, her reading glasses shielding a swollen black eye.
Her family said they were more shocked than angry about the vicious attack, which Mrs Katsavos believes was carried out by someone who was ‘drug-affected’, and pleaded with the attacker to come forward.
Penelope Katsavos, 78, was left lying on the steps of the church (pictured) where she was found 30 minutes later by a street cleaner who then called police
‘Turn yourself in,’ Mr Katsavos said.
‘In time, you will be caught so, you know, do the right thing.’
Mrs Katsavos is the full-time carer for her husband Thomas, who has dementia – prompting fears she may not be able to care for him following the attack.
Evri Katsavos, her son, told 7 News on Monday that he is saddened to ‘think about the pain that she actually went through’.
‘[It’s] just real gutless to hit anyone, let alone an elderly person… defenceless.’
Pictured: Erin and Evri Katsavos. Evri’s mother Penelope was bashed by ruthless thugs outside a church on Saturday
The grandmother-of-six flashed a brave smile as she read from a bible in hospital, where she is receiving treatment for her injuries
The culprits took her trolley but it was later found in a nearby park with nothing stolen.
Mrs Katsavos daughter-in-law Erin said she has remained positive throughout the ordeal.
‘She is eternally positive, but that’s just her nature. But she’s very unwell,’ she told 3AW.
‘We want the people who did this to be found, so firstly they can’t do it to anyone else and that they’re held accountable for what they’ve done,’ she said.
Mr Katsavos said the family was inspired by his mother’s strength.
‘We know that’s she’s very strong and she makes us all strong as well,’ he said.
Mrs Katsavos has been opening the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox church in South Yarra (pictured)every weekend for 30 years
Parishioner Jane Pallot said Mrs Katsavos was a ‘beautiful’ woman and the church community would rally behind her during this difficult time.
‘She is a beautiful lady and church is her life, and we will make sure she is looked after.’ She told News Corp.
A photo of the victim taken at the church steps shows her looking stunning and defenceless covered in blood.
Mrs Katsavos was unable to describe the attackers but did say they were ‘young’.
Both are still on the run and Victoria Police said the investigation into the random attack is ongoing.
The man has been described as having a thin build with dark hair, and was wearing dark clothing at the time.
He was last seen heading towards Chapel Street with the trolley.