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Woman, 64, fights off two handbag snatchers

A retired woman who fought off two bag snatchers said yesterday she felt “stronger” because she made a stand.

The 64-year-old added she had no regrets about defending herself when she was targeted by two men on a motorbike.

She admitted her attitude might be different if the attack had left her injured.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s made me feel stronger, it hasn’t made me scared. Had it been a rape or something then, yes, that would traumatise the rest of my life ... it kind of makes me want to reach out to women to fight back.

“I know that’s not what you should do, but I want to say, fight back, in the sense of taking classes. I know we can’t legally carry Mace but you need to fight back in some way that’s legal.”

The woman added: “Do I regret it? No, I certainly didn’t want it to happen, but certain things happen to you in your life and sometimes the outcome has a meaning.”

The attempted bag snatch happened as the woman waited on Burnt House Hill in Warwick for a lift last week.

The woman said two men in dark clothing on a motorbike stopped and said “hello”.

The woman added she returned the greeting but the pair said nothing else.

She said: “The fella on the back of the bike, he leant over actually very gently. I had my bag over my shoulder; he lifted it off my neck.

“It’s a cliché, but it happened so fast. Then my brain clicked in and I thought, ‘what the hell?’.

“I held on for dear life. I was holding on to the handles of the bag and the strap, and he kept pulling, I kept pulling, then he actually got off the back of the bike and pulled even more.

“I yelled, ‘you b******’. I was darned if I was going to let them get my bag.”

The woman added: “You never know how you’re going to react and I just reacted.

“I hate people who go against the law, so I guess that was in my genes, I just fought back.”

The woman said she lost her grip on the bag and grabbed a handle on the bike, but the rider started to move and she was “dragged” about 15 feet.

She said: “I held on to my footing, I just held on to this handle and I tried to tip the bike to the left so they would fall off.”

Two other motorbike riders spotted the struggle and rode into the path of the vehicle.

The woman said her attackers “got frightened and hightailed down Burnt House Hill” empty-handed.

She added: “The police said to me afterwards I probably reacted in the worst possible way but I’m very glad I did because I just want these b******s, I just want someone to catch them.”

“I’m one of these people, I never forgive and I never forget. They just came across me ... and I guess that they thought I was an easy mark.”

She added: “I think sometimes you just have to take your life into your hands and fight for it, that’s what I did.

“I’m very glad I did, only because the outcome was good.”

The attempted theft, which happened shortly after 10am last Thursday, came amid a string of chain-snatching incidents on the island. These included one later that day when an employee at Oleander Cycles in Southampton was threatened with a knife before jewellery was grabbed from his neck.

Police have not ruled out a link between some of the thefts.

A spokesman added officers had recovered two bikes as part of their investigations into the string of snatches and were waiting on the results of forensic examination.

The woman described her would-be robbers as aged between late teens and mid-20s, with the bike passenger being about 5ft 6ins or 5ft 7ins tall and of slight build.

She added: “It’s got to stop.

“If these guys were the ones at Oleander who had a knife, maybe I’ve been very lucky.”