It was a very pleasant day and we were walking along the promenade at Brighton. In front of us were a couple also enjoying the sunshine. They looked to be in their thirties. The woman had a handbag slung over her shoulder.
Three young lads overtook us, jostling each other and having a bit of a laugh. They were being a bit exuberant but not too much – just larking about the way lads do.
The lad at the end was a black lad. As they came up behind the couple the lad in the middle barged him and sent him flying into the couple. Attempting to steady himself he grabbed at the lady and caught hold of her handbag, yanking it off her shoulder.
The man quickly pounced and grabbed hold of the youth, threw him on the ground and held him down.
A couple further in front looked round at the commotion and turned to come back. The youth was protesting and struggling and his two mates were also shouting at the man but he held on and kept him pinned down. He was a big guy. The lad had no chance and the other two were reluctant to get too involved. They just shouted at him to let their friend go.
Soon a crowd gathered then the police arrived. The black youth was arrested and statements were taken.
I explained to the officers what had happened from my perspective. It had all been larking about. The lad had not tried to grab the handbag. They took down our statement but I don’t think they believed us.
I was walking along the seafront with my husband. It was such a nice day. Then this young lad tried to grab my handbag. He yanked it off my shoulder but my husband quickly grabbed hold of him and wrestled him to the ground. He was writhing about and his friends were having a right go but my husband is a big man and he wasn’t going to let him up.
Soon a crowd gathered round. The police arrived and I explained how the lad had tried to steal my handbag but my husband had stopped him. I was really shaken up and they took me back to the station for a cup of tea and biscuit and to take down details. It was hours before I stopped shaking. My husband was worked up too. He was so angry with what had happened.
We turned round to see what was going on. This group of youths were harassing this couple. It looked nasty. The black lad had tried to snatch her handbag but the man had grabbed hold of him and was holding him on the ground. It looked to me as if the other lads were going to get involved. It was shaping up to be really unpleasant. So I rushed back to intervene.
A group of other people got involved and stopped the lads coming to his aid. The bloke was so angry. I could see why. It’s a wonder he didn’t really have a go at the kid. He was a big guy. He wasn’t going to let the kid up and the other two didn’t bother him too much.
Soon the police were there. I told them how the black lad had tried to snatch her handbag but the chap had grabbed him and stopped him getting away. I think they were a little gang. It’s nice to see them their comeuppance.
It was Gary’s fault. He’s always getting me in trouble. He gave me this big shove, caught me right off balance – sent me careering into this woman. I just grabbed out to stop myself falling over.
It was real scary. This guy grabs hold of me and he like a big guy. He wrestles me down. I thought he was going to beat hell out of me. He looked so angry. I just wanted him to let me go.
I was trying to get loose and was shouting at him that I hadn’t done nothing. And Gary and John were shouting at him.
But all these geezers were all shouting stuff like I was trying to nick her bag. None of them were listening to me. I just wanted to get away but the more I struggled the more he held on to me. He was crushing me. It was really frightening, I couldn’t move and all my mates were watching.
Then this crowd gathered and they were all shouting at me and staring at me as if I was some kind of thief. Then the plods arrived an they weren’t listening either. They handcuffed me up and took me off down the nick as if I was some kind of villain.
I was charged and it went to court.