Hero great-gran foiled shop raid by chasing off thug with hammer

A great grandmother who ‘doesn’t scare easily’ fended off a wannabee-shoplifter with ease, a court has heard.

Brian Millar got more than he bargained for when he took on the Dundee pensioner.

He tried to steal cash in the city’s Forbes newsagents, where shopworker Jean McGill was stationed behind the counter.

The 70-year-old quickly dodged attempted blows by the thug after he threatened her to hand over the cash.

Jean then grabbed a hammer she’d been using to bash in nails and went after the masked thug, forcing him to flee the scene.

A court heard that Millar who was jailed for one year for the raid had ‘met his match’ when he came face to face with the feisty shopworker.

Jean told the Daily Record: ‘He swung and tried to hit me more than once, and came close, but I managed to lean back and get out of the way. He would definitely have hit me, it was horrific and terrifying.

‘That’s when I got my hammer. I’m not a violent person but a big part of me wishes I skelped him with it, I really do.

‘I threw the hammer at him as he tried to get away, but I just didn’t quite hit him. I’m just sorry it didn’t connect after what he did and what he put us through.’

Jean had only just opened the Forbes Newsagents in Dundee when Millar entered while brandishing the weapon around 4.50am on March 11 this year.

After being told to hand over cash, the 70-year-old pulled a hammer of her own from under the counter and lashed out at her attacker.

Millar managed to grab £200 from the till before fleeing the scene – followed by Jean who hurled her hammer at him as he scarpered.

Jean said: ‘He came in wearing a mask with his hood up just after we opened up around 4.30am. I was at the counter when he brandished the hammer at me demanding “give me money”.

‘I was completely shocked, and just looked back at him and said “what?” He raised the hammer a bitty higher and repeated his demand, so I opened the till.

‘There was a hammer I had been using to bang nails into the wall that I had thrown under the counter when customers came in. I’m not in the habit of keeping a hammer under the counter – although I am now.’

Millar was later traced by police and at Dundee Sheriff Court was sentenced to a year in prison and a six-month period of supervised release having pleaded guilty to assaulting Jean McGill at the Clepington Road store.

He admitted repeatedly trying to strike her with a hammer and robbing £200 cash.

Defending, solicitor Mike Short told how his client was ‘totally ashamed of his behaviour’ and was ‘fortunate he had met his match’ in Jean.

Mr Short told the court: ‘The footage supports the fact she is one very brave lady.

‘He is fortunate that he came upon a Dundee lady who does not scare easily. It may be that this lady, who had to defend herself, will not have any long term problem, but other people might do in this situation.

‘He is fortunate that he met his match – and more.

‘He is mortified about his behaviour against a lady of her age. He has crossed a line and he understands that.

‘People have to realise you cannot do this and it is unfair for the public to be in fear of this type of behaviour. The drugs are his problem.’

Jean told the Record she no longer feels safe when going to work.

She added: ‘I used to leave my house and walk up, dark mornings, the lot, it didn’t bother me. Now, I either get a lift or taxi every morning. It’s definitely had a big effect on me.

‘I keep the door locked until the girl who works in the shop arrives. I hate being in the shop on my own in the morning.

‘I don’t feel safe anymore. It’s just the effect of what that scumbag did. Now, whenever a person comes in, I do a double take.

‘My family have noticed the effect it’s had on me. And my customers too, because they have been coming here for so long now. They’ve said how different I am since it happened. I’m a lot quieter too.’

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