A 71-year-old British woman dubbed "Supergran" by newspapers after she foiled a jewelry store heist by hitting a gang of six robbers with her purse sometimes has to use a wheelchair, it was reported Wednesday.
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Former street vendor Ann Timson denied she was a hero, saying simply that "somebody had to do something," The Sun newspaper said.
The paper reported that she suffers from arthritis, which periodically becomes so bad that she uses a wheelchair.
Timson, whose son lives in the U.S., was walking in Northampton, England, on Monday when she thought she saw a young man being beaten up, police said.
She said her "mother's instinct kicked in and I ran across the road shouting at the lads to stop it," according to a statement issued on her behalf by Northamptonshire Police.
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"I was not going to stand by and watch someone take a beating so I intervened," she said, according to The Sun. "As I got closer, I saw it was a robbery and then I was even more angry that they felt they could get away with that in broad daylight."
She was further enraged when one member of the gang drove off on a scooter, nearly hitting a woman and baby.Video: Elderly heroine thumps thieves with handbag (on this page)
"I clobbered him with my shopping, but he got away," Timson added. "The rest were still trying to smash and grab the jewelry.
"I just kept swinging my bag, then they tried to escape. I landed several blows against one lad on the back of a bike and brought him to the ground.
"He raised a hammer to me so I kept hitting out and shouting for others to bring them down. Several people then came to help. It seemed to be over in seconds."
The Sun contacted her son Andre Dash, 47, who lives in Connecticut, to show him a video taken of the incident, which has become a YouTube sensation.
"Oh my goodness. It's just completely crazy. I recognize that red jacket. Wow, I just can't believe she did that," he told the paper.
He then called his mother, but she did not initially call him back because she thought he would be angry with her, Dash added.
Bag 'having a rest today'
In the statement, Timson said that people in the area did not initially come to help her.
"I was amazed at that, but they all seemed mesmerised. A lot were standing there filming or taking photos and I wonder whether more people didn't intervene because they thought the raid was being mocked up," she said.
"In the cold light of day, I know I put myself in danger. But I probably would do the same again," Timson added.
However she joked that her black shopping bag was "having a rest today, to give it time to recover from its bruises."
Northamptonshire Police's Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said she had met with Timson to thank her.
"She demonstrated true community spirit in wanting to help others, but we should acknowledge that this did involve a clear element of risk," she said in a statement.
Four suspects were later arrested and charged, Northamptonshire Police said. They were due to appear at Northampton Magistrates Court Wednesday.
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