City 'Superwoman' tells how she defied mugger

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The Independent Online

Nicola Horlick, the City "superwoman", has told how she fought off a mugger who demanded her jewellery, threatened to kill her, then pistol-whipped her outside her home.

Nicola Horlick, the City "superwoman", has told how she fought off a mugger who demanded her jewellery, threatened to kill her, then pistol-whipped her outside her home.

Ms Horlick, 43, who gained a formidable reputation for commanding a six-figure salary while raising five children, admitted she had risked her life but said she refused to hand over her valuables "as a matter of principle".

Two attackers, wearing motorcycle helmets, struck at 8.30pm on Monday, after Ms Horlick returned to her £5m home in South Kensington, having dropped one of her daughters at a charity disco in central London.

"I got out of the car then I noticed a moped was coming the wrong way down the street, although I did not realise at the time that it was driving the wrong way. [One man] got off the bike, came over and said, 'Lady, give me your jewellery; I have got a gun'. I then realised there was a gun stuck in my stomach.

"I didn't say anything so he said, 'Lady, did you hear what I said? Give me your jewellery'. It was just like a stand-off; he kept asking the same thing over and over again.

"He said 'I am going to have to kill you if you do not hand over your jewellery'. I said, 'That would be pretty stupid because then you would be in prison for the rest of your life'.

"He said, 'If I do not kill you, I am going to have to hit you. This gun is metal, it will hurt'. So I said, 'Fine, hit me'.

"He then shoved me against the car and said, 'I told you, I am going to have to hit you'. I said, 'Well fine, hit me', then he smashed this gun into the side of my head. With his other hand he hit me on the forehead.

"He then pinned me on the ground. He had his arms on my chest and was holding me down. He then said, 'Give me that ring'. I took the ring off and just flicked it through the railings, into the communal garden, but he did not see where it had gone.

"He was confused, so I said, 'Oh dear, I seem to have dropped the ring. Let me help you look for it'. He released me and I was able to stand up. He said, 'What about that watch?', but I said, 'It's not valuable; let me help you look for the ring'."

For minutes she pretended to help him scrabble around in the garden. She went on: "Then I said, 'Look, there is a car coming, that's my husband. You'd better go'. I ran and he jumped on the moped and went."

Ms Horlick struggled into her house, where her other four children had been unaware of the attack, and called the police. She described her attacker as white with dark eyes, aged about 19 or 20, about 5ft 11in and "lanky".

The 10-minute ordeal left Ms Horlick with a deep cut behind her ear and severe bruising. She said: "I do not see why people should be allowed to get away with this. If you do not stand up to them, they will think it is easy. I felt I had to say this is wrong. Maybe that is irresponsible and maybe I did put my life in danger, but at that moment in time I did not really believe I was going to die."

Her ring was later recovered from the gardens and Ms Horlick went to work as usual yesterday.

The former investment fund manager at SG Asset Management earned her reputation as the ultimate working mother in the 1990s.

She rose to even greater prominence - and cemented her reputation as a formidable City operator - when she fought a campaign to win her job back at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, which had accused her of trying to poach its staff in a planned switch to rivals ABN Amro.

Her marriage to her husband, Tim, collapsed last year, days before the family was to move to Australia. She is reported to have started a relationship with Mark Shipman, also 43, whom she met through work He has three children.

Police are linking the attack on Ms Horlick with two other incidents at about 9pm on Monday night in the same area.

Two muggers travelling by moped took £200 from a woman in Onslow Square and robbed personal items from a man in Montpelier Square.