'Hero' dog saves owner, 86, from robber

Image caption, Joyce Ackerley, pictured here with her granddaughter Sarah, said Axel was her "hero"

A dog "saved the life" of his 86-year-old owner by scaring off a robber who was attacking her.

Rescue dog Axel jumped in when he saw owner Joyce Ackerley being hit on the head by a raider who tried to grab her necklace as she "pottered" in her Greater Manchester garden on Monday.

The German shepherd-Akita-cross pounced on the robber, bit him and then chased him as he fled down the street.

Mrs Ackerley said Axel was her "hero" and he had "saved my life".

The great-grandmother from Little Hulton, Salford, said she thought the man had been asking directions when she opened her garden gate to him.

'Gentle giant'

She said he shouted, "give me your jewels", and attacked the pensioner.

"The next thing I know he hits me over the head with what looks like a broom," she said.

"People say you don't see stars but I saw stars that day."

Image caption, Joyce Ackerley said Axel returned with blood on his nose

She said Axel then came running down the garden.

"I've never seen him move so fast and jumps at this bloke and knocks him flat on to the floor," added Mrs Ackerley.

"He gets up but he still has my dog attached to his arm. He shook the dog off and I thought I had lost him. The dog came back with his nose covered in blood."

Mrs Ackerley took in Axel four years ago as a rescue dog.

"He is very gentle - we call him the gentle giant."

She added: "I have been spoiling him every since he saved me - he's my hero."

Det Con Steven Hughes, from Greater Manchester Police, said the attack "could have been much worse if her dog hadn't stepped in and scared the offender away".

No-one has yet been arrested in connection with it and police have urged any witnesses to come forward.

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