An elderly woman won praise from a judge for her bravery in fighting off two burglars with her umbrella during an attempted break-in last October.
Mildred Unsworth, then 89, was in the ground-floor bedroom of her family’s home in Lancashire, England, when the attack occurred at around 5 a.m. on Oct. 23. Her son and daughter-in-law were also home at the time.
"With quite some considerable courage, [Unsworth] came out of her ground-floor bedroom and attacked the intruder with an umbrella," attorney Mark Lamberty said, according to The Telegraph. "[Her son] fell through an open bedroom door. [Her daughter-in-law] was able to grab a walking stick and set about the men. There was a prolonged struggle in the kitchen and hall area. Then the man fled."
“It was a violent confrontation, but the determination of the victims meant that the attackers did not find their victims an easy target,” Judge Pamela Badley said in court. “The 80-odd-year-old lady set about the intruders with an umbrella.
“The two intruders fled empty-handed, but this does not reflect the serious nature of what they had undertaken. This was a planned attack, and the arsenal of items recovered showed that this was intended to be an attack in which the victims would have been overcome.”
The two criminals involved, Edward Brown and Philip Mortlock, were each sentenced to over nine years in jail.
The burglary was planned by Peter Singleton, a business partner of Unsworth’s son, Niel, who is a jeweler and also lives in the house. Singleton asked Niel to buy a large quantity of jewelery for him, and knew that it would be at the property on that day.
“I've never been as frightened in my life,” Neil, a former prison officer, said.
Singleton, who masterminded the plot as a means to resolve his debt problems, was arrested as he tried to flee the country. He was sentenced to over seven years in jail.