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Woman, 81, who fought off mugger says attacker ‘picked wrong one’

Retired welder and machinist Doreen Jones was targeted while collecting her pension at an ATM.

Doreen Jones takes hold of her attacker (BBC Crimewatch Roadshow Live/PA)
Doreen Jones takes hold of her attacker (BBC Crimewatch Roadshow Live/PA)

By Richard Vernalls, PA

An 81-year-old woman who fought off a pregnant mugger has said her attacker “picked the wrong one”.

Doreen Jones, a retired machinist and automotive welder, had gone to an ATM on her local high street to collect her pension when she was targeted.

Speaking to the BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow Live in a bid to trace her attacker, Mrs Jones described how the woman had tapped her on the shoulder, then lunged for her bank card.

Dramatic CCTV footage showed quick-thinking Mrs Jones immediately snatch her debit card out of the would-be thief’s reach, before grabbing her attacker by the scruff of her collar.

Twice-widowed Mrs Jones, from Blackheath in Sandwell, West Midlands, said: “She wasn’t expecting me, I tell you.

“She was expecting somebody more vulnerable and they picked the wrong one when they picked Doreen.”

Mrs Jones said she had been collecting her pension on the morning of May 20, like she did every week, when the incident happened.

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Doreen, speaking about the incident. (BBC Crimewatch Roadshow Live/PA)

“You have to go to work to live and look after your family,” she said.

“I call my pension my wages because I’ve worked for it.

“Everything was fine as usual, it was a nice sunny day.

“When I got to the ATM there was just me there.

(The attacker) just targeted an elderly lady with a stick who she thought was very vulnerable. But she thought wrong Doreen Jones

“A few minutes after I got there I felt this tap on my left shoulder and I looked round and it was this young girl.

“She’d got a piece of paper in her hand and just kept tapping.

“And I said, ‘Will you please go away’.”

“I thought, ‘Oh, she’s gone’.”

But as Mrs Jones turned back to the machine, her attacker lunged for the card.

“I thought, ‘No, you’re not having my money – I’ve worked hard for that’,” Mrs Jones said.

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Police are now looking to trace the woman. (BBC Crimewatch Roadshow Live/BBC)

“Well, I grabbed my card first, put it in that hand and grabbed her quick like that and I got her hair as well as her collar and she started screaming.

“I don’t know why she was screaming, it was me ought to have been screaming and crying.

“Once I let go of her, she ran off straight away around the corner.”

The mugger left empty handed, but Mrs Jones was treated for shock at the scene and believes two heart attacks she has suffered since the incident are down to the stress caused.

Mrs Jones said: “She just targeted an elderly lady with a stick who she thought was very vulnerable.

“But she thought wrong.”

Appealing for information, police staff investigator Peter Rawlins, of West Midlands Police, said the suspect may have been pregnant at the time and may now be near her due date, or recently had her baby.

He added: “Doreen is a tough lady and this suspect picked the wrong pensioner. But it has had an effect on her.”

He said: “If you know who this woman is or where she’s from, let us know.”

Anyone with information can contact the force by calling 101 or ringing Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

PA

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