Elderly Riverhead beating victim: ‘She thought I was dead’

Julia Townsend

The elderly victim of a vicious New Year’s Eve beating in Riverhead said justice has been served in the case involving the woman who knocked him out and then looted his mobile home.

Julia Townsend, 39, who did not have a fixed address, was sentenced in Suffolk County Criminal Court last Thursday to six years in prison and five years’ probation following the Dec. 31 incident at Robert Desmond’s Glenwood Village home.

“If you do something like this you have to understand that if you get caught, you go to jail,” Mr. Desmond, now 85, said in a phone interview Monday.

Mr. Desmond said Ms. Townsend, who he said was introduced to him by a friend, had knocked on his door several times in the weeks leading up to the incident and asked to stay the night.

Mr. Desmond said he sent her away every time.

Then on New Years Eve, Mr. Desmond said he heard a ruckus in the Florida room of his mobile home. He went out back to see what was going on and was pushed back inside his home by Ms. Townsend.

She hit him over the head with a coffee pot, knocking him out, he said.

During the ordeal, Ms. Townsend ransacked the home, taking everything from watches and rings to battery chargers. Mr. Desmond said he awoke several times only to be kicked back into unconscious.

“When she left, she thought I was dead,” Mr. Desmond said. “I’m lucky she left me alive.”

After regaining consciousness about four hours later, Mr. Desmond, who said he was stripped of the clothes off his back, called 911. He was treated by responding Riverhead ambulance workers and then transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

He said his head is still “raw” from the attack, though he did not want to be photographed for this story.

Ms. Townsend was arrested by Riverhead Town Police a short while after the incident and charged with first-degree burglary. She was indicted by a grand jury in January.

The incident was not Ms. Townsend’s first run-in with the law. Just a week before New Year’s Eve she was picked up by town police and charged with second-degree harassment.

Ms. Townsend pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Criminal Court in June to first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary and second-degree assault, according to records. Prosecutors had originally requested a prison sentence of eight years in the case.

Her court-appointed attorney Robert Flink could not be reached for comment.

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