How a mother’s instinct silenced newsroom cynics

Yesterday footage came into the ITN newsrooms of an armed raid on a jewellery shop in central Northampton, carried out apparently by a gang who’d arrived on scooters with sledgehammers. Many of us were deeply cynical at how a woman ran from some distance away straight into the group and started walloping them with her handbag. I found two ITN lawyers and the Deputy Editor of Channel 4 News standing over my shoulder watching the remarkable footage several times, deeply concerned that we should not be fooled by a hoax.  The reasons for our doubts? The perfect framing of the scene. (Apparently caught by a freelance cameraman in town for an assignment) . And why would a senior citizen, who reminded hacks old enough to remember the show, of Supergran, head straight into a group of men armed with sledgehammers?

The woman had told police she wanted to remain anonymous. Officers confirmed to me last night that the incident seemed genuine and there were four suspects in custody. And then today, presumably under pressure from the volume of media interest, she released the following statement through police. It turns out she thought a young man was being attacked by the others and said “my mother’s instinct kicked in”.  It’s a rare moment when someone’s motive proves even more selfless than imagined. Dare I suggest that any parent  — any mother even — knows exactly why she could do it? And it’s shut the journos up.

Statement issued on behalf of Anne Timson  in respect of the attempted armed robbery in Northampton town centre yesterday morning (Monday 7th February 2011)
“I’d been shopping in the town and was on my way down Gold Street when I met a friend and stopped to have a chat.

“I became aware of a loud revving noise at the top of the street. I ooked over and saw a kid run up to the doorway  of the jeweller which is on the corner of Bridge Street. Three lads followed him and when I saw their arms going I thought the kid was being beaten up. My mother’s instinct kicked in and I ran across the road shouting at the lads to stop it. Only then did I realise that they were smashing glass and that it was a raid.

“There was a scooter in my path revving up but by now I was in full flight and I started whacking the lads over the head with my shopping bag. Passers by didn’t come to my assistance to begin with. I was amazed at that, but they all seemed mesmerised.  A lot were standing there filming or taking photos and I wonder whether more people didn’t intervene because they thought the raid was being mocked up. In the cold light of day, I know I put myself in danger. But I probably would do the same again.

My red coat has now been packed away for the winter and my red hair is being dyed green. And my black shopping bag is having a rest today, to give it time to recover from its bruises!”
 

Statement from Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport:

“I have today met with Ann and , on behalf of the Force, thanked her for what she did. She demonstrated true community spirit in wanting to help others but we should acknowledge that this did involve a clear element of risk.”

About samiraahmed

Journalist. Writer. Broadcaster.
This entry was posted in journalism, Media, TV, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.