Woman attacked with meat cleavers outside her shop in Leeds
A pharmacist has described the moment he thought his wife was dead after she was threatened with meat cleavers by armed robbers outside their shop.
Manoj Kumar and his wife Tanya run the Brudenell Road Pharmacy in Hyde Park.
The pair were closing the chemist's shop on the evening of November 13 when two men who had been watching them pounced and attacked 45-year-old Tanya.
Her husband managed to throw himself on top of his wife in a desperate bid to protect her before the attackers were disturbed by members of the public and ran off.
Chillingly, the pair were caught on the shop's CCTV hiding behind some bins and ignoring customers leaving before targeting Tanya.
"We were leaving the shop and I'd told Tanya to wait outside while I set the alarm. Our car was only about 20 yards from the door," said Manoj, who has run the business for over 20 years and lives in Shadwell.
"Suddenly I heard these awful screams - I thought someone was being tortured. I saw two men bent over someone on the ground - as I came forward they lunged and thrust the knife into my face and I retreated. Then I realised it was Tanya. She wasn't moving and I thought they had stabbed her and that she was dead. I threw myself forward and managed to fall on top of her, and then I just froze - I was hysterical. Some people then came to help and the men ran off.
"Tanya was lifeless, she wasn't responding at first, but then she opened her eyes - I think she'd gone into shock. I was checking her for stab wounds but it was hard to see properly in the dark."
Tanya was not physically injured but has struggled to sleep since the attack and has had to have counselling. The robbers stole two rings from her before they were disturbed.
"On our CCTV you can clearly see them waiting behind the bins for Tanya. They told her she was going to die."
Manoj no longer stays in the shop to work late and always leaves the building with a colleague.
"This was completely out of the blue - I've worked here for 25 years and we have only had minor things like shoplifting before. It's the first time there's been a physical assault. The knives were big - they looked like meat cleavers."
West Yorkshire Police said:-
"At 6.35pm on Tuesday, November 13, police received a report of a woman having been robbed in the street after she left Brudenell Road Pharmacy.
"The 45-year-old victim was approached from behind by two men as she was speaking on the phone. They grabbed her and threatened her with a knife before forcibly removing two gold rings from her right hand.
"The suspects ran off in the direction of Sainsbury’s. The victim was not seriously injured but was left badly shaken.
"One of the men was described as white, about 5ft 6ins tall, medium build, possibly in his late twenties. He was wearing grey hooded top and had a scarf across his face.
"One of the rings was white gold thin band with diamonds and the other was a chunky white gold ring with a protruding plait pattern.
"Detectives from Leeds District Crime Team have been carrying out enquiries into the incident and have spoken to a number of witnesses but are still keen to hear from anyone with any information that could assist the investigation.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact Leeds District Crime Team via 101 quoting crime reference 13180570626 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."
A number of armed robberies to have hit Leeds in the past month, although they are not believed to be linked to the attack on the Kumars.
On December 13, three men armed with knives burst into Pizza Express on Street Lane in Roundhay shortly after staff had closed up for the night. Cash was taken.
On December 17, The Regent pub in Chapel Allerton was targeted in a horrifying robbery in which three men wielded a samurai sword and threatened staff before stealing cash and a charity box.
The next day McDonald's off York Road in Killingbeck was robbed while a security van was collecting takings just after 8am.
And on Wednesday night a petrol station on Wetherby Road in Shadwell was robbed of cash and cigarettes.