Brutal attack sparks private security calls

THE debate on private security has resurfaced after a mother was mugged and robbed in broad daylight on a quiet Hampstead road

Marc Mullen

THE debate on private security has resurfaced after a mother was mugged and robbed in broad daylight on a quiet Hampstead road.

The 43-year-old woman was with her child near her home on Wedderburn Road when the two robbers pounced.

They snatched her handbag and yanked jewellery and rings from her fingers before jumping into the back of a green Vauxhall Cavalier, which sped off down Daleham Gardens towards Finchley Road.

Since the attack, at 3.40pm on Friday March 14, the distraught victim has been canvassing neighbours to look into the possibility of private security on the street.

Jo Konrad, who is a resident on the road, said: "Personally I am against private security as I think it is the thin end of the wedge.

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"My view is that it is quite wrong and potentially a divisive thing. If we have private security then all it achieves is to move crime to Akenside Road.

"We don't want to turn into some gated community like the whole of St John's Wood has become."

Iqbal Bundhun, who also lives on Wedderburn Road, said two years ago a girl was mugged at gunpoint at the same spot. And his house was burgled at 2am one night as he slept.

But he doesn't think private security is the answer. He said: "I should walk to work as it is so close by, but I go by car because even at 6pm I do not feel safe walking along here carrying a briefcase. But I am really not sure what private security firms could do."

Mary Medawar, who also lives on the road, said: "It's not the way for society to deal with this issue. There should be more police on the streets if there is a problem.

"I think everyone has to be cautious because there are not many pedestrians and one does feel vulnerable."

Police say the two suspects for the March 14 attack are black men aged between 18 and 22.

Meanwhile, police are appealing for witnesses to another attack on a woman in Belsize Park Gardens in the early hours of March 22. The 36-year-old woman was making her way home when two or three men jumped on her. As one suspect grabbed the woman around the neck, the other or others stole her handbag and prised off her rings.

One suspect is a black man in his 20s, around 6ft tall, and wearing a grey crewneck jumper. The other man was younger and also black, 5ft 6ins tall and wearing a dark parka-style jacket.

During the attack a man in a silver VW Golf drove past the scene. Investigating officer DC Neil Carson said: "We are keen to speak to the driver of the silver VW Golf as he may have witnessed the incident and be able to assist in identifying the suspects responsible."

A police spokeswoman said the two cases are not being linked at the moment.

They come after a spate of similar incidents that led to the conviction in February of Kevin Nevers who received a life sentence for attacks on women in streets including Frognal Way, Ellerdale Road, King Henry's Road and Parkhill Road.

Anyone with any information that could assist the current police investigations should call 020-7404 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.