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Pensioner bludgeoned with iron bar on Hampstead doorstep speaks out

11:47 29 November 2012

Attack is second similar incident in weeks

Attack is second similar incident in weeks

Archant

A 61-year-old woman was bludgeoned with an iron bar on her doorstep by a man wearing a balaclava in the second daylight attack this month at homes near Hampstead Heath.

Madeleine Neumann was clubbed over the head by a masked man when she opened her door in Gainsborough Gardens on Tuesday last week.

She screamed for help and her attacker fled but she was left with a 4cm gash to her forehead.

Mrs Neumann, who has lived on the borders of the Heath since 1985, said she had a strange feeling of unease as soon as she put her hand on the latch and has called on her neighbours to remain vigilant.

“Somehow I had a bad feeling,” she said. “All I saw was a balaclava and quite a thick metal bar which looked like scaffolding.

“He immediately hit me, without even saying anything. I think he thought I would become unconscious, but I didn’t.

“All I could think of was to shout as loud as I could. I didn’t shout ‘help’ I just screamed as loud as I could.

“The fright comes afterwards, when it’s happening you just fight for your life.”

Police are treating the incident as attempted aggravated burglary.

One neighbour said police were looking to talk to a man who was believed to be “sleeping rough on the Heath” in connection with the attack, but police would not confirm this.

Earlier this month a 63-year-old woman, who lives in the Vale of Health, was struck across the head with a rock when she answered her door to what is thought was a man masquerading as a door-to-door salesman.

Det Con Amanda Haldenby said police are keeping an open mind in both cases but at present there is no evidence to link the two attacks.

Peter Burian, who has lived in the Vale of Health for many years and is on Hampstead police neighbourhood forum, said he could not remember such a rash of attacks.

He said: “There is still a flasher on the loose too, but this is rare – it’s exceptionally rare.

“I have lived here for a million years and the last serious incident we had was 20 years ago when there was a rape up near Kenwood.”

Mrs Neumann said: “I would like people to be aware and not stupid like me and become complacent and make sure they look through a spy hole.

“But as far as I am concerned Hampstead is a fantastic place to live and I really don’t want to alarm people.”

Det Con Haldenby added: “I urge anyone who may have any information at all to contact us.”

* Call Camden Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency dial 999.

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