Moment British Army veteran tackles Hampstead thief before being sacked as tutor

·3-min read
Moment British Army veteran tackles Hampstead thief before being sacked as tutor

A heroic army veteran who tackled a thief coming out of a Hampstead fashion boutique has been sacked just a week after starting his job as a tutor.

Mark K, who survived two tours of Afghanistan, was walking the child to buy Pokemon cards when he saw a man calmly walk out of Reiss store in Hampstead High Street with the clerk shouting behind him.

CCTV captures the moment he chased the hooded man and pinned his arms back in a bear hug to prevent him from reaching for any potential weapon in the middle of the well-heeled shopping district.

Despite being kicked, punched and spat at Mark remained calm and told the alleged thief to return the items - worth hundreds of pounds - and he would let him go.

The suspect gave up resisting and allowed the female staff member to take the clothes back from his bag.

Mark, in his 30s, then pushes the suspect away from the child and then uses a well-aimed kick to keep him from returning to attack.

The alleged thief then throws a danish pastry from the floor at Mark as he shepherds the clerk and the child, who he had kept over 20 metres away and always in eyesight, to safety.

Mark was sacked as a tutor (Supplied)
Mark was sacked as a tutor (Supplied)

Mark said the 10-year-old child he was tutoring in English, Maths, PE and etiquette was “nonplussed” about the altercation and the mother even laughed about it with him when they returned home.

But two days later a PA to the family sent him a text message saying he was being let go because the mother didn’t “feel comfortable” with his actions.

Mark was in the British Army for five years. He completed a tour of Afghanistan in 2010 and another as a civilian in 2012. (Supplied)
Mark was in the British Army for five years. He completed a tour of Afghanistan in 2010 and another as a civilian in 2012. (Supplied)

Mark, who has been forced to return to Yorkshire to stay with friends whilst he looks for a new job, told The Standard despite losing his job he would intervene again.

He said: “It was instinctive to me to neutralise the threat. The theft was so brazen so I assumed he had a weapon to scare people off if he had done this kind of thing before.

“He wasn’t running he was walking until he saw me coming for him. I pinned his hands behind him so he couldn’t reach into his pockets and held him there. He was kicking my shins trying to break them and get away.

“I served in Afghanistan I’ve been in sticky situations and I didn’t want to see anyone die in front of me.”

He said he acted to protect the child and the clerk because the thief was running into a dead end and would have to run back past them to get away.

Mark’s injured shins (Handout)
Mark’s injured shins (Handout)

He added: “I just think that if everyone could do their bit. We have to take care of the community.

“It won’t discourage me in the future. I hope everyone is ok. If the robber reads this I hope he makes some better life decisions.”

He criticised the “bizarre” explanations the mother eventually gave after he begged to speak to her on the phone so he could explain himself.

He said: “I was really excited to be working again. She couldn’t even tell me to my face. Instead of thanking me for keeping her child safe she came up with some crazy hypotheticals about what could have happened.

“I made the decision [to intervene] but it still feels so bitter how they handled it.”

Police said they received a report of an assault in Hampstead High Street.

“The incident happened on Tuesday, July 26 while the victim, aged in his 30s, was detaining a suspected shoplifter,” they said.

“No arrests have been made. Enquiries continue.”

The family of the boy have been approached for comment.

To donate to Mark’s crowdfunder click here.

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