One woman described the moment in the “horror movie” when a stranger slipped into her car in broad daylight as she was pulled over at traffic lights.
CCTV footage caught Steven Partington, 44, strolling in a blind spot behind his victim’s white Astra before silently opening the rear passenger door and hiding in the backseat.
The 40-year-old only realized that an intruder was in the car when she looked in the rearview mirror and Partington suddenly sat down “like a scene from a horror movie”.
Homeless Partington ordered the woman to “keep calm and drive” before grabbing the gearshift as she drove through Nottingham city center. She tried to alert other road users by honking and knocking on her windows during the ordeal on November 6.
Partington eventually grabbed the woman’s purse and fled. The victim managed to drive home where she called the police who started a manhunt.
Nottingham Crown Court has learned that Partington was arrested after the woman’s handbag was found dumped in a parking lot next to a green coat which contained bail papers in her name.
He admitted one count of robbery and was jailed for four years and eight months on Thursday
Speaking after the affair, the woman said she bought birthday presents and a cake for friends and was on her way home when Partington struck.
She said: “I was in my car listening to the radio and suddenly I felt movement in the car.
“I just thought it was something that fell in the trunk.
“My brain was racing, thinking what it might have been, I hadn’t turned sharply or anything.
“I just took a quick glance in the mirror and there it was. I immediately screamed.
“It was like a scene from a horror movie.”
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The victim said she initially wondered if the man mistook her for a taxi.
She added: “His face came out, I can’t explain what I was feeling. He just got out of a squatting position. Suddenly I wasn’t alone in the car.
“Then I thought it was a mistake, did he think I was a cab?”
“He wasn’t talkative, he wasn’t talkative. All he said to me was “keep calm”. He was neither panicked nor aggressive.
“At the time, I had no idea of his intentions.
“Was he dangerous? What does he want from me? Does he have a gun on him? Is he a rapist? Is he going to want me to go somewhere?
The woman said after the initial shock she desperately tried to sound the alarm and started honking and banging on windows, but said no one paid attention.
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“He just told me to ‘drive’ and I decided to take a side street, where I thought there might be more people but my heart sank, it was deserted. I was alone, ”she said.
The woman said Partington touched her sleeve which “really freaked me out” and tried to bend over.
“He then grabbed my purse and got out of the car,” she said. “Just like that, it was over.”
“It only lasted a few minutes, but for me it was like a lifetime. I immediately locked myself in, went home and called the police.
Officers searched CCTV for the mysterious thief, but he was eventually arrested when his bail papers were found three days later in a green coat.
CCTV footage from the custody room at Mansfield Police Station showed Partington retrieving the same green coat.
Officers looked at other footage to trace Partington’s movements from Mansfield to Nottingham by train.
Footage of a bus just before the incident showed him wearing the coat and walking through Nottingham city center.
Detectives were able to follow Partington through town until CCTV showed him sneaking into the victim’s car at the junction of Cranbrook Street and Lower Parliament Street.
Detective Constable Richard Evans of Nottinghamshire Police said: “It was a particularly heartbreaking and very alarming incident, which initially left the victim traumatized.
“She was extremely scared and didn’t know what Partington’s intentions were.
“We would like to thank the member of the public who recovered the victim’s items, as well as Partington’s coat, which was crucial in resolving the case.”
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