Nan vs mugger
One minute Mum was waiting for the bus, the next she was sent flying... Lynda Tidswell, 70, Oldham
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!’
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