A former women's world kickboxing champion sent a pair of muggers
packing when they attacked her in North London.
Sophie Pittaway was sending a text from her iPhone when the
two hoodlums pounced on her in Islington, beating her on the head and
trying to shove her to the floor.
But the 38-year-old - who was crowned world kickboxing champion
in 1998 - unleashed a volley of punches and kicks on her attackers, then chased
them off up the street.
"I didn't really notice them approach me because I was
texting, which is a stupid thing to do in the street late at night," said
Pittaway, a former RAF fitness instructor who now runs a gym in East London.
"They obviously wanted my iPhone and just started
hitting me in the head and neck and pushing me down. My instinct must have
kicked in because I got back on my feet and fought back, which no doubt
"I was a bit dazed from the blow to the head, so by the
time I was really awake to what was happening, one of them had already run off
up the road and I was jostling with the other one.
"My mobile was on the floor and I wanted to pick it up
but if I had he could have stuck a knife in my back.
"My training meant I was able to think on my feet and I
decided to let him go for the phone, then I gave him a few moves, kicks and so
on, and chased them both off up the road until I was safe.
"It all happened very quickly so there wasn't really
time to be scared, but I was very shaken up for five minutes."
Pittaway was left with bruising and whiplash from the
muggers' surprise attack and ended up losing her phone during the fight, but was
thankful that she had been able to look after herself.
"If they had got me on the floor I could have been in
real trouble, they could have had knives, but fortunately I was able to use
what I know to defend myself," she added.