Nan vs mugger

One minute Mum was wait­ing for the bus, the next she was sent fly­ing... Lynda Tidswell, 70, Oldham

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Set­tling down with a cup of tea, I smiled at my mum, Eva Jones, sit­ting in her favourite arm­chair.

‘Pass the bis­cuits please, love,’ Mum grinned, be­fore launch­ing into the lat­est lo­cal gos­sip.

‘Oh, Mum,’ I laughed, watch­ing her face light up.

Mum wasn’t like most other nanas.

At 93, she still lived on her own, was a dab hand with her Kin­dle, and tended to her im­mac­u­late gar­den ev­ery day.

She was made of strong stuff, my mum. Spent her teens work­ing in a cot­ton mill, 14 hours a day. Tough work for any­one. Yet, she’d some­how found the en­ergy to so­cialise with her friends.

But now, those days were long gone.

In­stead, she liked to knit, fill in the crossword and read.

Mum was car­ing, too, ev­ery­one lo­cally knew her as Nana Eva.

Tak­ing care of her neigh­bours, thought­ful and kind. It was re­as­sur­ing to know how loved she was.

One Au­gust af­ter­noon in 2018, I was vis­it­ing friends 120 miles away from my home in Oldham when my phone rang. My brother Tony, 55. ‘Lynda, Mum’s been mugged!’ he said, fran­tic. His words rang in my ears. ‘Is she OK?’ I gasped, stom­ach tight­en­ing into a knot. But Mum wasn’t OK... She was in hos­pi­tal! Be­fore I knew it, I was a blub­ber­ing mess.

Tony ex­plained Mum had been wait­ing for a bus into town, to get knit­ting sup­plies.

Out of nowhere, two men ap­proached her from be­hind, and one tried to take off with her hand­bag.

What kind of per­son would do that to an el­derly lady?

Even though she had less than £10 in her purse, she’d put up a hell of a fight.

As the mug­gers pulled, one man let her go, which hurled Mum back­wards.

Crash­ing to the ground, Mum cracked her head on the pave­ment.

Luck­ily, traf­fic came to a halt and on­look­ers rushed to Mum’s aid.

Mean­while, the lowlife thugs fled empty-handed…

Barely con­scious, my poor mum was rushed to the Royal Oldham Hos­pi­tal.

Mum had se­vere bruis­ing to her hands, arms, legs and back, plus had a head in­jury.

Thank­fully, it wasn’t life-threat­en­ing.

Rush­ing home, I was des­per­ate to see her. But it was too late in the day by the time I fi­nally got back.

Next day, Mum was dis­charged and I went to see her at Tony’s house.

‘I’m so sorry, Mum,’ I said, wrap­ping my arms around her. ‘I should have been there.’

‘Don’t worry,’ she grinned. ‘They messed with the wrong one, any­way!’

So strong!

But some­thing about Mum was dif­fer­ent.

Her in­ner sparkle was gone, fear flash­ing in her eyes. I blamed my­self. Usu­ally, I was the one to take her shop­ping. If only I’d been there that day, then none of this would have hap­pened.

Af­ter a po­lice ap­peal, a 17-year-old lad handed him­self in to the po­lice and confessed to the crime.

Over time, it was clear Mum had been badly af­fected.

In con­stant pain, she had hor­ren­dous headaches, pain in her hips and couldn’t sleep.

Af­ter a few weeks, she de­cided she didn’t want the

at­tack­ers to stop her from liv­ing her life.

De­spite be­ing mugged, she con­tin­ued to go out­side. Just like she did be­fore. Noth­ing would put her off. While most peo­ple may re­treat in­doors, scared to go out, not our Nana Eva.

She’s a tough cookie.

‘I’m not go­ing to let what hap­pened stop me,’ Mum said de­fi­antly.

I felt so proud of her.

One af­ter­noon, I popped round to Mum’s to take her shop­ping.

As we walked along the road, past the bus stop where she’d been at­tacked, it made me in­cred­i­bly an­gry.

The thought of my lovely lit­tle mum be­ing at­tacked for no good rea­son… It was so un­fair!

‘That won’t hap­pen again, Mum,’ I said as we walked by.

I couldn’t wait to see the lad brought to jus­tice.

I knew the mag­is­trate had the power to put him be­hind bars for up to two years. A month later, the teenage thug, who can’t be named for le­gal rea­sons, pleaded guilty to at­tempted rob­bery.

At Tame­side Youth Court, mag­is­trates were shown po­lice pho­to­graphs of the deep and painful bruis­ing that cov­ered Mum’s body.

They heard how a bus driver stopped the traf­fic and two quick-think­ing builders had im­me­di­ately raced af­ter the pair of mug­gers.

But they’d got away, only for one to hand him­self in at the po­lice sta­tion the next day.

That young lad was now stand­ing in court, look­ing rather sheep­ish.

He told the court he hadn’t re­alised the im­pact his ac­tions would have.

Bravely, Mum gave an emo­tional state­ment.

‘I was con­fused and shocked – and as I was ly­ing on the ground, it flashed through my mind, This is it, I’m a gonner.’ And yet… The young lad walked free from court.

De­cid­ing against a cus­to­dial sen­tence, the mag­is­trate handed him a 10-month re­fer­ral or­der and said he had to pay £500 in com­pen­sa­tion.

That meant £10 from his £25 per week pocket money. It made my blood boil. All Mum wanted was for the lad to un­der­stand that his ac­tions had con­se­quences. For the boy re­spon­si­ble to leave court and go back to his nor­mal life seemed like such an in­sult. All of our fam­ily was so up­set with the re­sult. I think his sen­tenc­ing should have been kicked up to the Crown Court, where the pow­ers to pun­ish him for his crime are stronger. My dear mum didn’t de­serve to be tar­geted and bat­tered the way she was. An el­derly woman, all she wanted to do that day was go about her busi­ness. Thank­fully, now, Mum has made a full re­cov­ery and we’re so grate­ful to see her sparkle com­ing back. She even jokes about things, telling any­one who’ll lis­ten, ‘That lad picked the wrong Nana.’ Well, he cer­tainly did. I only hope he’s learnt his les­son.

‘They messed with the wrong one!’ she said

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