Burglar-chasing pensioner Margaret Woodward rewarded

  • 10 December 2013
  • From the section Derby

A pensioner has been rewarded for her bravery after she confronted a burglar who targeted her Derbyshire home.

Margaret Woodward, 68, of Long Eaton, chased Patrick Reid with her walking stick after he crept into her ground floor flat while she slept in a chair.

The 51-year-old, who had broken in before, was caught on CCTV as he stole money from her purse.

Ms Woodward was given £1,500 and a bravery award by Derbyshire's high sheriff.

Reid, of Nuthall Road, Nottingham was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison at Derby Crown Court in June.

'Break your kneecaps'

Police installed CCTV into Ms Woodward's home after she had been targeted five times in over a year. In that period, Reid stole £900 from her.

Ms Woodward, who has severe arthritis in both knees, said on the final occasion, she was woken by the noise of her bag being unzipped.

Image caption Margaret Woodward was asleep when Patrick Reid broke into her flat

"I jumped off the chair and said 'I've got you this time', she said.

"I went for my walking stick and said 'I'm going to break your kneecaps, you're not going to get away' but he jumped on the bed and went out through the window.

"The fear had gone. All I wanted to do was catch him."

Derek Mapp, Derbyshire's high sheriff, said Ms Woodward had shown "remarkable bravery".

"She has been burgled five times and that must have been traumatic enough but then to wake up to find the burglar standing over her and then having the bravery to chase him, it's quite remarkable.

"We've recognised her outstanding bravery and are delighted to follow-up the court's recommendation that she should be rewarded for her bravery," he said.

Ms Woodward told the Derby Telegraph she felt suicidal after the burglary and had to see a psychiatrist.

She said she hoped the award from the high sheriff encouraged other older people to see the difference they could make if they were also being persistently burgled.

"I felt that at least I had done something good," she added.

"It affected me badly but I feel safe that he's gone now."

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