Five robbers armed with knife attack young woman, then 88-year-old former commando arrives

'Fear is not in my dictionary' says John Nixon

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 20 February 2018 17:29 GMT
John Nixon suffered hand and face wounds after tackling robbers in London
John Nixon suffered hand and face wounds after tackling robbers in London (Evening Standard)

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An 88-year-old former commando tackled five robbers, one of whom was armed with a knife, as they tried to grab a woman's handbag, forcing them to flee empty handed.

A blow from John Nixon left one assailant "semi conscious", as he stepped in to stop the youths last month in Kentish Town, northwest London.

Despite being slashed on his hands and head during the scuffle, the war veteran forced the attackers to flee, while the woman ran away screaming.

A neighbour later raised the alarm and Mr Nixon was taken to hospital.

“My initial thoughts were to divert their attention away from the girl who was screaming. I shouted ‘leave her alone’,” he told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

“But they turned on me, saying ‘We’ll take your money instead’ and I said ‘No you don’t’. Kids this age are full of bravado, you see, they weren’t expecting a surprise.”

Mr Nixon said he trained to be a commando in the 1940s before joining an elite special services unit and fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Footage shows shocking moment 13-year-old fights off sex attacker

After leaving the military he served as a bodyguard in Nigeria for officials from charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

“My training kicked in,” he said of the attempted robbery. “I landed a blow to his neck which rendered him semi-conscious. I disabled one but another one pulled out a knife so I had to try and deal with him too.

“I tried to disarm him and in the process I got stab wounds here, there and everywhere. There was a lot of blood. He wasn’t trained and it was more of a pocket knife. Luckily my wounds were shallow.”

John Nixon said he trained to be a commando in the 1940s
John Nixon said he trained to be a commando in the 1940s (Evening Standard)

He added: “Fear is not in my dictionary”.

Mr Nixon, a widower with one daughter, said he had been near death “so many times”, including one ocassion when he was bitten by a snake, so it no longer scared him.

A spokesperson for Londons Metropolitan Police said: "It is believed between four and five youths surrounded a woman - one suspect was thought to be armed with a knife.

"A member of the public saw the altercation take place and intervened. The woman managed to run away but the man was attacked by the group and suffered minor injuries.

"The victim was taken to a north London hospital and has since been discharged. No arrests have been made."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Camden via 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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