‘If we hadn’t stopped, then they could have been killed’

Scarborough's Esplanade, where the pensioners were snatched from their holiday home by kidnappers. They now face jail, with the woman who came to their aid recalling how she found them dumped in the middle of a road late at night. Pic Richard Ponter 150506a
Scarborough's Esplanade, where the pensioners were snatched from their holiday home by kidnappers. They now face jail, with the woman who came to their aid recalling how she found them dumped in the middle of a road late at night. Pic Richard Ponter 150506a
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A woman has recalled the terrifying moment she came to the rescue of a retired couple after the pensioners were snatched under darkness from their homes.

The couple, in their 80s, were “beaten with sticks” by armed bandits Carl Howley and Nicholas Dodsworth, as the duo tried to rob them during a home invasion at their Esplanade holiday property.

Their ordeal continued when they were driven in their own Range Rover to Eastfield to withdraw cash - but they crashed on the A64, just as a Scarborough couple were heading home in the other direction.

“We saw this car lose control on the roundabout - the car went past us swerving all over the place, so I turned around to see if they were OK,” said the female Good Samaritan who found the couple, who asked not to be named.

“I pulled in front to make it stop and as we got out of the car to see if they were OK, two lads got out and ran over to my partner demanding to take us to Leeds, the other apologising.”

Those lads were Howley and Dodsworth, who earlier this month pleaded guilty to a string of offences relating to the January 26 raid, including kidnapping.

And the woman who found the elderly couple in the car has recalled how the female victim grabbed her and pleaded for help to escape the duo.

“I asked what’s wrong and the elderly woman said ‘they’ve robbed us’,” said the Scarboorugh woman.

“I looked in the back of the car, and there was a knife.

“She fainted and we got her in the car. By this point the lads were long gone.”

The booze-soaked culprits clung onto bottles as they fled into the night.

The couple stayed with the pensioners while they waited for the emergency services, as helicopters hovered above, scouring the area.

They were found two hours later near Proudfoots in Eastfield and arrested, while their victims were rushed to hospital in a “distressed” state.

“It was absolutely disgraceful,” added the woman, who said she felt “physically sick” when she realised what had happened.

“That’s someone’s parents or grandparents at the end of the day, and if we hadn’t have got to them, where would they be now?

“People were just driving past them, it was awful to see how people just don’t care or want to get involved.

“The lady was just thankful, saying they could have killed us, and she’s right - they could have.”

Dodsworth, 20, from North Marine Road and 30-year-old Howley, from South Street, are currently behind bars ahead of sentencing at York Crown Court on March 23.

Besides pleading guilty to the joint kidnap charge they also admitted other offences including aggravated vehicle-taking and burglary.

At that hearing on February 9, Judge Stephen Ashurst warned the pair that they both they faced a “long prison sentence”.

But the woman who found the couple doubted any prison sentence will make them change their criminal ways.

“Who is to say they won’t do it again?” said the woman,

“Will it make them realise what they’ve done? I mean, what normal person does that to another person?

“No sentence to them is going to cure the fear that these old people will have.

“If it’s five or ten years, it’s not going to cure their mental state.”