'I feared for my life': Security guard scarred after late-night ambush

Garry Starr in Golders Green, where he was attacked 

Garry Starr in Golders Green, where he was attacked - Credit: Polly Hancock/Garry Starr

A security officer victim of an ambush which made him virtually blind in one eye says the late-night attack in Golders Green has left him crippled with anxiety.  

Garry Starr, 56, was attacked by a group of balaclava-clad thieves after he drove past and witnessed them stealing a catalytic converter in Woodstock Road around 1.10am on June 4.  

The mob smashed the windows of his car with iron bars before the former cop – surrounded by the assailants – managed to drive off and escape, with a shard of glass lodged in his right eye.  

The attack has physically and mentally scarred the former Barnet resident, nearly six months on. 

He has blurred vision in his right eye and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder including flashbacks.  

The private security guard is on anti-depressants following the incident, which he says left him fearing for his life. 

No one has been arrested or charged, and Garry, who lives in Borehamwood, says the police didn’t even take a statement from him before closing the case.

The security officer says he is trying, but struggling, to move on with his life

The security officer says he is trying, but struggling, to move on with his life - Credit: Garry Starr

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“It’s had a really big change on my life,” the father-of-two told the Ham&High. 

“I loved my job, I really did... but now I hate my job. I only go in now because I've got bills to pay.” 

Garry says the incident has taken a heavy toll not only on himself, but his family – which he has struggled to deal with.  

“I'm now on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety tablets,” he said. “I take three paracetamols every four or five hours rather than prescription drugs.  

“If I jump up and down my stomach rattles from all the tablets I'm taking. It's the only way I can get through the day.” 

As Garry was on shift during the attack he was wearing body armour for protection.  

While his car was smashed in he put his head down on the passenger seat. For around seven seconds, as his car failed to shift into gear while he tried to escape, the 56-year-old says he was a “sitting duck”.  

“I felt I was in control because I ducked to protect myself,” he recalled. “I was doing whatever I could not to antagonise them anymore.  

“At that point they could have dragged me out the car, and if I had been I don't think I'd be here today.” 

The security officer previously worked on patrol for eight years as a special constable, but he says his tough upbringing and training on the job has been shattered. 

“If I see something I don’t go near it now,” he said. “I watch it from a distance and if I have to report it I will.  

“I’m old school. I was taught s**t happens, you deal with it and then you worry about your injuries after, and that's all I was doing. I used to be able to deal with anything.”

Garry Starr returning to Woodstock Road, the scene of his ambush

Garry Starr returning to Woodstock Road, the scene of his ambush - Credit: Polly Hancock

The former cop has called on police to reopen the case and start a “proper” investigation.  

He claims the attack wasn’t handled seriously and that officers asked him to edit CCTV rather than do it themselves. 

The Hertfordshire resident says the Met didn’t take a statement from him before they terminated his case, and that the absence of punishment for his life-changing attack means he does not have closure. 

“As much as I want to, every time I close my eyes I can see the smashing of the car and I can't let it go,” he said. 

“So if somebody was charged for it I could get some closure. It might make it a bit easier knowing that all of this wasn't in vain.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “An investigation was undertaken which included seeking any forensic opportunities; homeowners in the area were spoken to see if any CCTV or doorbell footage could be identified.  

“The victim provided one piece of CCTV he had obtained but no suspects could be identified from this footage.

“After all lines of enquiry were pursued, the investigation was closed. The victim was informed of this outcome.

“Any further information that comes to light will be assessed and acted on accordingly.”