Sunday Telegraph

LAST Friday week, on a gloriously sunny afternoon, I emerged from my home in west London to drive to Harrow to pick up my daughter. As I headed for my car, I noticed a young, well-built, quite handsome, black man, standing on the other side of the road.

I paid no attention, having other things on my mind. I was debating which way to go, but my greatest fear was that my wife, Caroline, would discover I’d picked up a piece of rye bread as I left the house. She’s always warning me about snacking, and I was terrified that she might see me from her office window (we both work at home).

I got into the car and switched on the windscreen washers. As I did so, I noticed the man walk past me on the passenger side. I had a feeling that all was not well, so I quickly started the car. Suddenly, he was standing by the driver’s door, opening it and shouting: “Get out!” As I pulled at the door he gripped my arm and shouted: “Do you want to die?” He repeated the words again, motioning with his other hand as if he was carrying a gun or a knife.

Since my silent answer to his question was, No, I did not want to die, and certainly not then, in a surburban side-street, I stopped resisting and was pulled out of my car.

My first dread, as the man climbed into the driver’s seat, was that he would try to run me over. I hurried to the pavement and watched as he tried to reverse the car. Then, after a few jerks and a crashing of gears, he drove off. It felt rather strange, being left in this quiet little street still bathed in wonderful sunshine.

I ran — half-stumbled — home, but once I had closed the front door I felt very calm.

I walked up to my wife’s office and said, “You won’t believe what’s happened.”

The next few minutes passed in a daze. My wife sat me down, dialled 999 and helped me find my car registration. The police swiftly circulated a description and soon we were told that there had been several sightings. By this time, two plain-clothes policemen had arrived.

As they drove us to the station to take my statement, one of them heard on his walkie-talkie that my car had been found. It was a write-off. The robber had cuts and bruises and was on his way to hospital where he was kept under arrest. Had it not been for the protection a Mercedes offered him, he might not have survived. I didn’t feel like expressing any sympathy.

© Mihir Bose


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