In the Media

I battered a robber ? but don't call me hero

PUBLISHED June 8, 2006

A WOMAN who fought off a knife-wielding thug is still plagued by fear, two years after the ordeal.

June Hackett was working alone in ATL Amusements, on Whitegate Drive, when a man with a butcher's knife burst in and threatened her.

Trapped in the arcade's cash kiosk and fearing for her life, Mrs Hackett, 52, punched homeless heroin addict Mark Addison in the face and fought back.

During the struggle, the Blackpool mother-of-three was thrown to the floor, allowing the armed robber to escape. After threatening to stab Mrs Hackett, Addison made off with just ?70.

He was caught by police but, despite having absconded from a bail hostel at the time of the offence, was given a three-year community rehabilitation order, a sentence his victim has slammed and put down to a "failing system".

Mrs Hackett said: "When it happened, it didn't really hit me until I got in bed that night. Then I sobbed my heart out.

"I honestly thought he was going to stab me. I thought I could be dead now and over what? Seventy pounds. He was that desperate that he was willing to stab someone all for ?70.

"Even though it was June 17, 2004, it still gets to me. The knock-on effects have been massive. I get my daughters to go out for me, I will only go out for a drink once in a blue moon and although I have carried on with my job, if a stranger comes in, I won't come out of my locked kiosk.

"I am still fearful after what has gone on. It is hard to forget the feeling of someone trying to kill you."
Last night, Mrs Hackett was recognised for her courage at the Pride of Lancashire Awards, but the modest mum says she is no hero but was proud to share a room with real saviours.

She added: "I'm no hero. I acted out of fear. If I could have run, I would have, but I was trapped and had nowhere to go.

"I hit him because I was convinced he was going to stick that knife in me. The real heroes are the police, ambulance and firemen who save lives every day."

Det Sgt Steve Colman, of Blackpool CID, said: "I firmly believe Mrs Hackett's actions went well beyond that expected and her bravery ultimately enabled an extremely dangerous individual to be arrested.

"Addison was given a community order by the courts for this offence but has since breached that. He is now serving 47 months behind bars."