Hornchurch hero battles carjacker in high-speed showdown

A have-a-go-hero from Hornchurch battled a carjacker during a hair-raising ride through country roads at speeds of 80pmh.

Barry Monaghan gripped the thief round the neck from the backseat of his purple Ford Mondeo as the hooded driver tore through the borough and beyond, on Thursday morning (April 12).

The dad-of one had been loading bouquets of flowers into the boot of his car from Pinks Florist, in Corbets Tey Road, Hornchurch, when the bandit grabbed the keys from his hands and jumped in the driver’s seat.

In scenes more reminiscent of a James Bond film than a quiet morning in Havering, Barry gave chase, grabbing hold of the open boot as the car screeched off.

Horrified onlookers watched as the 60-year-old was dragged half a mile, while the driver repeatedly tried to shake him off by swerving into oncoming traffic - at one stage clipping a bus.

But the former fire-fighter, from Hillview Crescent, managed to haul himself into the car, before pushing the back seats through and confronting the thief.

“I had my hands round the guy’s neck and I told him ‘I’m not letting go’,” said Barry. “I kept saying to him ‘you’ve lost mate, give up’, but he kept swerving into the other side of the road trying to loosen my grip.

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“I was being knocked about all over the place and watching the speedometer hit 80pmh.”

Witness Dave Edwards said: “It was like something from a film. There was the sound of tyres screeching, women screaming, and then I see this poor guy being dragged away at around 60mph!”

The pair battled for miles before the thief gave up near Ockendon train station, Thurrock, where he made a run for it.

“I was frightened out of my life but there was no way I was giving up,” said Barry. “The guy kept threatening to smash the car but in the end he realised he was beaten.”

The thief is described as white, between 35 and 40-years-old, and was wearing a grey tracksuit with dark stripes, and had an “east end accent”.

Barry said: “I bet you it’s the first time this bloke has nicked a car and has ended with up with an old guy hanging onto him

“He started giving me his life story, telling me he was from Canning Town and that he had just split up from his girlfriend - it was all a bit surreal.”

Barry was left with whiplash and cuts and bruises to his legs, side and neck.

“I’m shaken but not stirred,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been trussed up and rolled for miles inside one of those big plastic balls.”

He added: “I know it was a stupid thing to do, but it was instinct. I’m glad no-one was seriously hurt.”

If you witnessed this incident, or recognise the description, please call Det Sgt Jo Willett from Havering Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.