Kaye Parish

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Barking and Dagenham Council

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Kaye Parish took council-run self-defence classes after her husband Charlie died six years ago

An arthritic widow fought off a home intruder with a punch to the head she learnt in self-defence classes.

A man dressed in PPE tricked his way into 71-year-old Kaye Parish’s home on 22 May posing as volunteer giving out hand sanitiser to the vulnerable.

Once inside her bungalow in Dagenham, east London, he pushed her against a wall and demanded money before Mrs Parish fought him off.

The Met Police said no arrests have been made.

Mrs Parish, who has rheumatoid arthritis, said: “He told me he had sanitiser and handed me two bottles.

“I thought ‘how nice, what a lovely thing to do’.”

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the man then asked her about a photo of her late husband.

“I went to put the photo down and he grabbed me and pushed me so hard up against the wall. It was terrifying,” she said.

“He was shouting ‘give me your money’. I said ‘I don’t have any money’.

‘Brain-wobbling’

Mrs Parish, who has lived alone since her husband Charlie’s death six years ago, had been attending Barking and Dagenham Council’s Young at Heart self-defence classes before the lockdown.

“I remembered my self-defence classes and this slap our teacher taught us where it wobbles the brain and makes the person disoriented.

“So I did that and he looked shocked but screamed about money again.

“I just hit him again and he ran off.”

She said her assailant was 5ft 9in, wearing an orange high-vis vest, boiler suit, surgical mask, blue surgical gloves and sunglasses and carrying a fake ID.

Police have warned residents in the area to be vigilant.

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