February 28 2009
– A mother watched in horror as her baby was driven away by a thief who posed as a policeman to commandeer her car.
Emma Williams and her partner managed to wrestle their two-year-old boy Lewis from the silver Lexus.
But their other son, five-month-old Jack, remained strapped inside as the carjacker sped off.
As the thief drove away, Miss Williams ran after the car screaming: ‘My baby, my baby. Someone has taken my baby.’
Shock: The baby’s parents Emma Williams and Gareth Forbes
She then endured a ‘horrendous’ 30 minutes before her child was dumped on a pavement back at the scene of the carjacking.
‘I just didn’t think I was going to see Jack again,’ Miss Williams, 24, said yesterday. ‘I thought the thief was going to crash the car because he was going so fast and I feared Jack wouldn’t make it.’
The ordeal began shortly after 5.15pm on Thursday as Miss Williams and her two children waited in the car outside the garage her partner Gareth Forbes, 32, co-owns in Bolton.
She was waiting for him to finish work at G & D Automotives when a man dressed as a policeman approached the car, tapped on the window and asked her to get out.
Mother’s horror: The Bolton street from where the raider took the car and baby
‘It was just a normal day,’ said Miss Williams. ‘I was picking Gareth up from work and this man appeared in the doorway. He had a police jacket on and black trousers and I shouted to Gareth to tell him that the police were here.
‘I didn’t think anything of it. You see a police officer and you sort of feel safe.
‘I didn’t know what was going on. Everything happened so fast. It was hard to believe it was happening.
‘I got out of the driver’s seat and he just pushed me out of the way and got in. I screamed: “He’s got my kids.” Then Gareth came running out shouting.
‘I said: “Just let me get the kids out of the car.”
‘He looked at me and said: “It’s all right, just get your kids out.”
Brazen: Outside the garage where Emma Williams was waiting for her husband
‘He was just calm and had no expression on his face. Gareth got Lewis out of the car but then he just sped off with Jack still in the back.
‘Everyone came out of the offices and tried to block the road with their cars and I just saw him coming back up the road at about 70mph.’
Fifteen minutes later, the Lexus was involved in a hit-and-run collision on a nearby road. No one was injured, police said.
Then, as Miss Williams and Mr Forbes gave witness statements to the police, the carjacker returned to the scene, having switched the Lexus for a Nissan Micra.
Wearing a motorcycle helmet to conceal his identity he pulled up and dumped Jack – still sat in his child seat – on the pavement before driving off.
‘When I saw the car I ran outside and saw Jack,’ said Miss Williams.
Crash: A Lexus IS200 similar to the stolen car
‘I was so relieved. He had the biggest smile on his face. He obviously didn’t realise what had been going on.
‘I just got him out of the car seat and gave him a big hug and burst into tears.
‘If there is a God up there somewhere, he brought him back to us. It was the best feeling ever.
‘I keep crying because I keep reliving it and thinking what might have happened.’
The driver of a Nissan Micra crashed a short time later. He was cut out of the car and was last night under police guard in hospital.
A 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft and kidnapping and was being treated for leg and neck injuries.
Detective Constable Graham Clare, who is leading the inquiry, described the carjacking as a ‘horrendous’ crime.
‘Thirty minutes seemed like a lifetime for this poor mother and father,’ he said. ‘They didn’t think they would ever see their children again, let alone 30 minutes later.
‘With all the things they had read in the papers about children being snatched they feared the absolute worst.’
DC Clare added: ‘We think he must have known there were two children in the car when he first got in, and aware there was still one in it when he made off.
‘When the child was brought back the mother was overjoyed. Perhaps he had a pang of conscience.’
G & D Automotives employee David Ainscough said a man dressed in police uniform had initially inquired about MoT tests before approaching Miss Williams.
He said: ‘We just heard screaming and shouting. Everybody jumped outside and tried to help.’
– Paul Sims & Tom Kelly