Man arrested over assault of elderly woman outside inner-city church

A man has been arrested following a vicious early morning assault on a 78-year-old woman on the steps of a Melbourne church.

A 36-year-old man from Box Hill is in police custody and expected to be charged with assault and theft offences over the alleged attack on elderly woman Penelope Katsavos, who was assaulted outside her South Yarra church on March 13.

The man was arrested on Thursday morning.Credit:Nine News

Investigators will allege the man assaulted the victim as she walked along Barry Street before stealing her shopping trolley containing personal items at about 6.15am on Saturday.

The trolley was later found nearby in Garden Street with the victim’s wallet, phone and cash still inside.

Penelope Katsavos in her hospital after the attack, in a photo supplied by her family.Credit:Nine News

On Wednesday Stonnington Crime Investigation Unit detectives released images and CCTV footage of a man walking in Chapel Street who they say is shown with the victim’s trolley.

Her daughter-in-law, Erin Katsavos, told 3AW on Wednesday that the woman had a fractured pelvis, a broken wrist and bleeding on her brain in two places.

“We are just shocked that it’s happened,” she said.

Ms Katsavos said her mother-in-law was left on the church steps for half an hour before a worker found her.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential online report at

With Jackson Graham.

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