Watch: Police chase car thief who sped off with owner’s blind 89-year-old mother in passenger seat

An image from dashcam footage of the police pursuit
Dashcam footage shows police pursuing car thief David Stephenson - GMP

A car thief led police on a high-speed pursuit after stealing a vehicle while the owner’s blind 89-year-old mother was in the passenger seat.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have released dashcam footage showing officers pursuing the vehicle through a busy residential area on Jan 6.

The force also released audio from the emergency call, in which the elderly woman’s daughter can be heard reporting the incident to the police, audibly panicked.

During the 999 call, she says: “My mum is in the car and someone has taken her; they’ve taken my car and my mum.”

The emergency responder then asks if the woman’s parent can drive and the caller says: “No. She is disabled, blind and has dementia.

“My mum is in the car, what will they do with her? Oh my God, what will they do with her?”

Specialist officers from the roads policing unit were then dispatched and the chase in Ashton-under-Lyne began, GMP said.

The woman is thought to have left the engine running to keep her mother warm, while she went into a shop.

David Stephenson, 51, of no fixed address, was jailed last week for eight years and six months after being found guilty of kidnap, theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving and driving without a licence.

Car thief David Stephenson
Stephenson was sentenced to more than eight years in jail

Police said Stephenson was “not fazed by the fact a vulnerable elderly woman was in the passenger seat, got in the car and drove off”.

Chief Inspector Matt Jackson said: “This must have been really terrifying for the woman who was in the passenger seat.

“She is blind and has dementia, she wouldn’t have known what was going on. I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through her mind.

“I am proud of my officers, whose fast thinking and ability to remain calm in any given situation meant we were able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, and swiftly arrest Stephenson.

“Their response meant that the woman was safely reunited with her daughter. It could have ended very differently if we didn’t work the way we did to get her back safe.”