Car-jackers beat me up and sped off with my dog
A mother-of-three has spoken of how a gang beat and threatened to kill her before stealing her car and driving off with her pedigree dog as she left a nail salon in North-West London.
Lorretta Paterson, who runs gift shop Temptations in Temple Fortune, suffered cuts and bruises when she was severely beaten by three men, last Friday.
The incident is the latest in a series of attacks on Jewish business owners in the area.
Mrs Paterson, 50, a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue, was returning to her car in Finchley Road at around 6.15pm when the gang approached her and forced their way into it.
"I had just opened the passenger door and put my dog, Minnie, and my handbag in the car. They came from behind and pushed me in," she said. "My head was cut open and there was blood everywhere, it was horrific. I was terrified and thought my time was up.
"One of the men sat on Minnie and said he would kill me if I didn't start the car. The blood was pouring down my face and I couldn't see. I was so dazed."
The gang forced Mrs Paterson to start her BMW X5 before pushing her out on to the pavement.
She ran back to the Nailworks salon to get help and then returned to the car in an attempt to rescue her 19-month-old black schnauzer. But the gang sped away, crashing into other parked cars as they did so.
Mrs Paterson was taken to hospital after suffering a two-inch cut on her forehead, two black eyes and severe bruising to her arms and body.
Minnie, who was wearing a tag bearing Mrs Paterson's mobile number, was returned in the early hours of Saturday. The thieves handed her to a woman walking a dog in Neasden. The car was found in the same area later that day.
Mrs Paterson's Cartier watch, diamond ring and diamond bracelet were also stolen, along with around £1,500 of stock from her business, which was in the boot of the car.
Nailworks owner Jessica Le said: "I heard screaming and Mrs Paterson came back to the shop, covered in blood. I didn't recognise her. At first, I thought it was a Halloween joke. We wrapped towels round her head but had to keep changing them because there was so much blood."
The attack happened just a few doors from Genevieve, an up-scale clothes shop which has been hit by ram-raiders three times this year.
In August, staff at Larizia, just 400 yards away, were threatened with a knife during the 11th raid suffered by the leathergoods boutique in the past three years.
After that robbery, the council said five CCTV cameras would be installed, but not until 2011. A council spokesman said there were no plans to bring the date forward.
Mrs Paterson is now asking customers to sign a petition appealing for an immediate improvement to security.
"The council needs to see what's happening. How long do we have to wait? This is a very affluent area where a lot of women drive nice cars and visit expensive shops. No-one feels safe any more. Temple Fortune is now a key target area for criminals. Shopkeepers and their staff are targets."
Hendon MP Andrew Dismore criticised the local authority's slow
response. "This is a serious matter. We know there has been some targeting of Jewish people for high-level crimes. Some people are especially vulnerable. The council needs to think what it is doing. CCTV should be prioritised."
A CST spokesman said community safety and well-being had been affected and that, in response, Jewish shopkeepers had been offered extra security advice.
Det Insp Duncan Wood, of Barnet Police, said officers were searching for three suspects, aged between 18 and 21.
He appealed for witnesses to the attack to come forward.