Woman bravely fought off car thief who attacked her with a pair of scissors

A woman has been praised for fighting off a car thief who attacked here with a pair of scissors at a petrol station in a “shocking, outrageous incident.”

Pauline Garner, 58, was filling her tyres at a BP garage in Anfield, Liverpool, when drug addict Matthew Sanderson, 38, grabbed her keys and tried to drive off in her car.

While she tried to pull him out of the car, she realised that the defendant was carrying scissors which he then attacked her with, reported the Liverpool Echo.

And in an “act of commendable bravery”, Ms Garner managed to yank the scissors from Sanderson’s hands and kick it away while only suffering minor injuries.

Liverpool Crown Court heard this week she had been driving to work at 7am, on June 30, this year when she stopped at the petrol station.

Sanderson then followed her before saying “give me your keys”. He was told to “f*** off”, but he replied: “I’m not messing, give me the keys.”

He grabbed the keys and it was then that the tussle began as he tried to drive off in the car.

Ben Jones, prosecuting, described how she “acted with commendable bravery” and pulled the scissors out of his hands and kicked them away.

Sanderson responded by biting her on the right arm and putting her in a headlock after Ms Garner pulled his mask off.

The struggle lasted for around five minutes as bystanders watched on, with one filming on his mobile phone, and when onlookers finally intervened, Sanderson brazenly claimed he had been the victim – saying: “She’s robbed my ma’s car” – before being chased away.

A statement by Ms Garner read out in court said she often wakes up at night and “relives the incident over and over in her head”.

She added: “Before the incident, I was a confident person. Since the incident, I would now describe myself as a nervous person – particularly when on my own. I hope the person responsible will take time to reflect how his actions have an impact on others.”

Sanderson struck again later that afternoon entering a shop and went up to two Polish members of staff and claiming to be from Trading Standards.

He asked to see the women’s visas while speaking in a foreign accent and when the suspicious employees asked to see his identification, he produced a bank card which remained partially hidden behind his hand.

Sanderson then pulled out what appeared to be a black hand gun and pointed at the victims. The court heard one of the women “thought the gun looked like it was plastic and wasn’t real, but didn’t want to take any chances”.

He ordered the pair into the back room, incorrectly believing there to be a safe, before “turning his attentions to the till” and pinching £65 in coins and bank notes. As he did so, Sanderson told them: “Get away now or I’ll shoot you – I’m going to shoot you.”

He then fled through the back door in the direction of the nearby Asda supermarket and changed into a pair of clothes he had brought with him in a bag. But Sanderson left behind his trainers, and was forensically linked to the robbery by DNA.

Both incidents were caught on CCTV and after his arrest, he claimed he was “out of it on a cocktail of drugs” at the time.

Sanderson has 32 previous convictions for 74 offences, including being jailed for five years for robbery and burglary in 2013.

Brendan Carville, defending, said: “Although his recollection of these matters is limited, when he was shown the two videos his reaction was to say how disgusted he was at himself and how ashamed he was.”

Appearing via video link to HMP Doncaster, Sanderson admitted robbery, assault with intent to rob, possession of an imitation firearm and making threats with a bladed article. He was jailed for eight years.

Sentencing, Recorder Richard Pratt KC said: “You approached a lone, middle-aged woman at a petrol station when she was putting air into her tyres. Having approached her under the guise of offering assistance, you made a determined, prolonged attempt to steal her car – subjecting her to a physical assault, including threats to her with a pair of scissors.

“This was a very shocking, outrageous incident for her to have suffered.”