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70-year-old ex-SAS soldier dares to tackle four muggers and wins
Last updated at 22:00 24 October 2006
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Former British soldier Douglas O'Dell proudly shows off his medals.
A 70-year-old former British soldier who fought guerillas in Aden and Triad gangs in Hong Kong showed four muggers how it doesn't pay to mess with the SAS.
Douglas O'Dell is past retirement age but the moves he learned as a volunteer in Britain's toughest regiment half-a-century ago stood him in good stead when he was ambushed near his home in Bielefeld, Germany, by four local toughs.
The former Provost Sergeant put paid to the danger on the street like he once took out bandits in hotspots across the globe.
THWACK! The first mistake came when one of the teenagers grabbed him around the throat and said in German: "Give my your money, grandad, if you don't want to get hurt."
"Bad move," said Douglas. "The only part he got right was grandad. If you're gonna grab someone from behind take their arms and pin them to their waist.
"This joker, I was able to grab his elbow, crouch down and throw him over my shoulder. He landed on his back on a fence and squealed like a stuck pig."
CRASH! As one went down another moved in and Douglas thought he saw him reaching for a knife. The Birmingham-born divorcee, who has a daughter and three grandchildren, said: "I had the measure of him but I slipped on some wet leaves as he came for me and bashed my face badly on the concrete.
"I saw his boot coming towards my face and I thought: 'No you don't, sunshine.' I grabbed his leg and twisted it until he too was screaming out in agony.
"Then I got to my feet and kicked him in the chest."
With two down the two remaining would-be muggers had enough. One peeled his groaning pal from the fence, the other picked up his crippled accomplice from the pavement.
"The last I saw of them they were limping down the pavement like a WW1 trench raiding party who got clobbered," said Douglas.
Douglas, who served nearly nine years with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment before leaving the army in the late 1950s, learned his combat moves when he was accepted for SAS training.
He completed the course and was to join the famous regiment when he contracted malaria and had to leave the army.
"I was upset at the time but I made the best of it. It's funny, but I never thought I would need to know that stuff again, the unarmed combat, but it came back just when I needed it."
The youths ambushed him just 60 feet from the flat he lives in in the British Army garrison town he has called home since 1961.
He went on: "The police only became involved because I went to the hospital with my face. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered. They didn't get anything ? except a bloody good hiding.
"They were German, I think east Germans, from their accent. There have been a lot of break-ins in my road.
"I just didn?t think this would happen to me. I was only returning from a pal's place after drinking a few beers."
Douglas, who spent three years as a policeman in Birmingham before returning to Germany to live after his marriage ended, shares his flat with a mongrel dog called Schnuffi.
He still works, as a delivery driver, "because my pension isn't very good."
Police in Bielefeld are still looking for his attackers.
But a spokesman said: "He had everything under control. These guys picked the wrong guy on the wrong night."