West Cumbrian have-a-go hero praised by court
Last updated at 20:18, Thursday, 10 March 2011
A Maryport couple have spoken for the first time about an attempted robbery by a drug-crazed man with a knife.
Michelle Winder, 40, was held at knifepoint at her Ellenborough Main Road hair salon Hair Flair.
She said she did not know what would have happened if her boyfriend Gary Bowman had not been there.
Mr Bowman, 51, managed to trick the robber – Andrew Bell, 26 –- to step outside.
Mr Bowman was recently given £150 by Carlisle Crown Court in recognition of his bravery.
The couple’s ordeal began just before 5pm on Friday, February 4.
Ms Winder, who has run Hair Flair for 19 years, said: “The door flew open and someone rushed in carrying a large bread knife shouting that he wanted money.
“A few lads come in for a haircut and my first thought was that this was a joke.”
Bell grabbed her, however, and pushed her against a wall, holding the knife to her throat and demanding money.
Mr Bowman had dropped in to the salon on his way home from work.
He said: “I was sitting on the couch. I also thought it was just a joke at first.
“Then he had the knife at Michelle’s throat and I couldn’t do anything without putting her life in danger.”
Bell began demanding money from Mr Bowman and left a bit of space between himself and Michelle.
“That is when I got up. I got between them,” said Mr Bowman.
Ms Winder said: “I don’t know what would have happened if he had not been there.”
Mr Bowman told Bell that he would give him money if he stepped outside.
He added: “I started walking towards him and he was walking backwards.
“He was totally drugged up and I just kept talking, trying to keep him confused but not to panic him.
“I told him again that if he went outside I would give him money and he stepped out the door.
“I shut it and put my foot and shoulder to it to keep it wedged closed.
“Another chap, who was getting his hair cut, came and helped me.
“I thought he would try to get back in but he didn’t. He just left.”
Ms Winder said she was shaken.
She added: “I have had the salon in Ellenborough for about 19 years. The people around here are lovely. This was not something I expected.”
The couple plan to spend the court reward on a meal out, but said they were keen to put the experience behind them.
Bell admitted the attempted robbery and was sentenced to four years in prison.
First published at 19:23, Thursday, 10 March 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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