Watch: Chilling moment stranger sneaks into woman's car when she pulls up at traffic lights
A woman has described the "horror movie" moment a stranger snuck into her car in broad daylight as she was waiting at traffic lights.
CCTV footage captured Steven Partington, 44, loitering in a blind spot behind his victim's white Astra before he silently opened the rear passenger door and hid on the back seat.
The 40-year-old woman only realised an intruder was in the car when she looked in the rear view mirror and Partington suddenly sat up "like a scene from a horror movie”.
Partington, of no fixed abode, ordered the woman to “stay calm and drive” before grabbing the gear stick as she made her way through Nottingham city centre. She tried to alert other road users by beeping her horn and banging on her windows during the ordeal on 6 November last year.
Partington eventually grabbed the woman’s handbag and fled. The victim managed to drive home where she called police who launched a man-hunt.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that Partington was caught after the woman’s handbag was found dumped in a car park alongside a green coat which contained bail paperwork in his name.
He admitted one count of robbery and was jailed for four years and eight months on Thursday
Speaking after the case the woman said she had been buying 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 a movement in the car.
“I just thought it was something falling over in the boot.
“My brain was racing, thinking of what it could have been, I hadn’t turned sharply or anything.
“I just had a quick glance into the mirror and there he was. I instantly screamed out.
“It was like a scene from a horror movie."
The victim said she initially wondered if the man had mistaken her for a taxi.
She added: "His face appeared, I can’t explain how I felt. He just popped up from a crouching position. Suddenly I wasn’t alone in the car.
“Then I thought was this a mistake, did he think I was a taxi?
“He wasn't talkative, he wasn't chatty. All he said to me was ‘stay calm’. He wasn’t panicky or aggressive.
“At that point I had no idea what his intentions were.
“Was he dangerous? What does he want from me? Does he have a weapon on him? Is he a rapist? Is he going to want me to go somewhere?”
The woman said that after the initial shock she desperately tried to raise the alarm and began beeping her horn and banging on the windows, but she said nobody paid attention.
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“He just told me to ‘drive’ and I decided to turn down 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 that Partington touched her sleeve which "really freaked me out" and she tried to lean away.
“He then grabbed my handbag and he got out the car," she said. "Just like that, it was over."
“It only lasted a few minutes, but to me it felt like a lifetime. I immediately locked myself in, drove home and rang the police.”
Officers trawled CCTV for the mystery robber but he was finally caught when his bail paperwork was found three days later in the green coat.
CCTV footage from Mansfield police station custody suite showed Partington collecting the same green coat.
Officers examined further footage to trace Partington’s movements from Mansfield to Nottingham by train.
Footage from a bus immediately before the incident showed him wearing the coat and walking in Nottingham city centre.
Detectives were able to follow Partington through the city 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: "This was a particularly harrowing and a very alarming incident, which initially left the victim traumatised.
"She was extremely frightened and did not know what Partington's intentions were.
"We'd like to thank the member of the public who recovered the victim's items, along with Partington's coat, which was crucial to solve the case.”
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