Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Grandmother Margaret Saunders (72) thwarts a knife-wielding thug bent on robbing her family's shop

CCTV captured images of the raider waving blade during hold-up bid

This is the terrifying moment a masked robber threatened a 72-year-old grandmother with a 10-inch knife as she ordered him from her family's shop.

Margaret Saunders refused to hand over Lottery scratchcards to the would-be thief during the daylight confrontation, prompting him to lunge towards her with the blade.

Rather than surrender any goods, Ms Saunders told the masked man to get out of the store, a Vivo in the New Lodge area of Belfast, before he fled empty-handed.

The brazen attack took place just after 5pm on Monday when the area was busy, with Ms Saunders' ordeal captured on the store's CCTV.

The pensioner's son Barry said his mother could have been seriously injured.

"The guy came in and demanded scratchcards, he didn't ask for money," Mr Saunders told the Belfast Telegraph.

"My mum was just down in the shop having a cup of tea at the time. She thought it was a joke to begin with then she quickly realised it was much more serious."

Mrs Saunders told the man to leave the shop and tried to shoo him out the door.

"After about 10 seconds the guy pulled the knife out, which to me looked more like a sword than a knife," added Mr Saunders.

"It was huge. He swung at her twice.

"That changed the whole scenario.

"She was very, very lucky because this guy could have cut the hand off her."

Mr Saunders said two men had been seen walking past the store just prior to the attempted hold-up.

They walked into an alleyway before re-emerging, one of the men having covered his face.

He said his family had run the shop for 30 years. During that time it had never been targeted in that way.

The whole incident lasted less than 15 seconds.

Detectives seized footage from the area and are currently investigating it in an attempt to identify the culprit and his accomplice.

"I wouldn't like to think it was somebody local," Mr Saunders added.

"Everybody knows us round here and we've never had any bother."

Background

The armed assailant threatened Margaret Saunders during Monday's robbery attempt in her family's shop in the New Lodge. The would-be robber was described as wearing black trousers, a black coat with the hood up and a scarf covering his face. The other man police want to speak to was dressed in a grey hooded top and waited outside the store during the incident. Police have appealed for anybody with information to contact them.

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