Young couple launch campaign after Hampstead Heath mugging
A young Hampstead couple is calling on Camden Council to secure a secluded footpath next to the Heath because it has become a hotspot for muggers and flashers.
Zoe Toffel, 30, and her partner, who prefers not to be named for fear of reprisals, have launched a campaign to pressure Town Hall bosses to install better lighting and CCTV on the pathway.
They say the route, which runs between New End Way and the Bull and Bush Pub on North End Road, Golders Green, is badly lit and a haven for criminals who can lurk in its shadows.
Ms Toffel and her boyfriend said they had first-hand experience of the dangers of the path when they were subjected to a terrifying knife-point mugging as they walked along it.
The attack happened as the pair were returning from a romantic dinner in Hampstead at around 11.20pm on April 28.
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Walking the short distance from the restaurant to their home along the walkway – which runs directly alongside the Heath – they were suddenly confronted by two masked robbers demanding cash.
Describing her ordeal, Ms Toffel said: “They jumped out from the bushes and were jumping round and frantically shouting, ‘what have you got for us’.
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“We thought they were joking at first because they were jumping around so much, but when they took out the knife we took it more seriously.
“They pointed the knife more at my partner than me.”
The two young thugs, both in their 20s, escaped with a wallet and Blackberry, but Ms Toffel managed to keep her bag and its contents by concealing it behind her back.
After speaking to other residents who said they had also seen men exposing themselves on the path, the couple decided to launch an online petition last week.
The internet petition, entitled ‘Improve Safety on Hampstead Heath footpath’, has already attracted more than 100 signatures. Ms Toffel added: “As a woman I now wouldn’t walk that route alone and it’s such a shame because we really enjoyed being able to walk home.”
Camden police confirmed they had received reports of the mugging on New End Road on April 28. A police spokesman said: “A 36-year-old male and a 30-year-old female were walking along the road when they were approached from behind by two suspects, asking for their property and threatening them with a 4inch rusty bladed knife.”
The suspected robbers are described as light skinned Asian males, aged around 20 years old, 5ft 6inchs tall with a stocky build.
One of the men was wearing jeans and a black hooded top and the other wore a grey V-neck T-shirt, khaki scarf, and jeans. He was described as having a well-groomed face and a ‘Roman nose’.
There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.
n Anyone with any information is asked to call Camden Police Robbery Squad on 0300 300 1212 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.