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Disabled granny headbutts hoodie gang member

A disabled grandmother who headbutted a teenage would-be mugger said today that she did it because it was what her grandchildren would expect of her.

The 49-year-old, who is just five feet tall and registered disabled, was ambushed by three youths in hooded tops as she drove her mobility scooter along a road in Barnstaple, Devon, but fought back, causing them to flee empty-handed.

The mother of six, who does not want to be identified, said that her 24 grandchildren would have expected her to be strong and not let the criminals have their own way.

She said she had also been inspired by the memory of her dead brother.

"They were not expecting me to fight back," she said.

"I am a very strong person because of what I have gone through in my life. As they attacked me, I heard my grandchildren saying to me in my head 'Nan, get up and fight them'.

"When I headbutted the robber I think I broke his nose, it was that strong. Once they saw me attack him his mates scarpered and so did he."

The attack happened at around 7.30pm on March 25 in the Whiddon Valley area of the town as the grandmother returned home from the fish and chip shop.

The three young attackers appeared from woodland next to the path on Westacott Road and tried to steal her handbag until she started fighting back.

The fight did not go all her way, as she was tipped from her scooter and kicked, needing hospital treatment for face and stomach injuries which exacerbated a previous medical condition.

Her scooter was damaged beyond repair and she spent all her savings on a new one. She said she had been left afraid to go to the street where she was attacked after dark.

She added: "The new scooter took all my savings, so I won't be able to go on holiday. I have had to go without a lot of things.

"But they haven't been able to get me down. I'm just laughing at them because I have got one up on them."

Her attacker is described as white, aged 18 to 20, 5ft 8in tall with short, spiky dark hair that had blonde streaks at the front, and a slim build.

He was wearing a grey hoodie and jogging trousers. His accomplices were the same age and similarly dressed.

Detective Constable Sam Napier, from Barnstaple CID, appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

"It was a shocking attack in broad daylight. This woman is extremely vulnerable which makes it all the more shocking," she said.

Anyone with information can contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 08452 777444 quoting log number CB/11/875.

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