‘A hand came over my shoulder and took my purse’ – Stevenage pensioner speaks out after mugging ordeal

Police have appealed for information about the Baldock incident

Police have appealed for information about the Baldock incident - Credit: Archant

A 74-year-old woman mugged in broad daylight struggled with her attacker before he fled, taking with him a wodge of cash and sentimental items including a poem about her disabled son.

The pensioner, who did not want to be named, was walking home from the shops at Oaks Cross in Stevenage at about 1.45pm on Friday when she was targeted by a thief.

She said:”I had just gone to buy salad cream and had only taken my purse, not my bag.

“I saw a man lurking by the nail bar on my way to the shop and I bet he was hoping I would come back the same way.

“On my way home, I put my purse slightly under my cardigan. I walked across Oakfields and, a couple of houses up, I saw a shadow on my left, then suddenly a hand came over my shoulder and took my purse.

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“I struggled to hold onto it but my spectacles came off and I was worried they were broken.”

The mugger ran off into Greenacres and the victim tried to follow him, but had to give up because of her breathing problems.

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She flagged down a car and a number of people stopped to help her.

The victim said: “One car had a nurse in it. She was going to work, but wouldn’t leave me.”

The police were called while a number of people took off in search of the thief.

The purse contained about £150 in cash, as well as a poem about the pensioner’s disabled son and photographs of her husband and children.

She said: “I’m disappointed to have lost those. I feel really angry it happened to me and I couldn’t stop it. I still can’t believe it happened.

“I feel very unnerved and keep looking round behind me when I go out. I don’t feel like going out on my own, and I will never ever take just a purse with me again.”

Friend Janice Stevens was one of the first people on the scene after the mugging. She said: “I have known the lady since I was a baby and she’s so upset.

“She was so shaken. I hope it doesn’t affect her going out but, being so close to home, I don’t know.

“She’s an amazing lady and it’s disgusting what happened to her.” The victim said: “Thank you to the people who stopped - you know who you are. Thank you for helping me.”

She said friends and neighbours have been to see if she is alright and she has been inundated with flowers from well wishers.

She said: “We have a good community and we all help each other out. We have lived in our house for 54 years and it’s the first time anything like this has happened.”

The suspect was believed to be wearing a pink top with chequered shorts.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Herts Police on 101, quoting crime reference number E1/16/6758.

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