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Dog walker saved by schnauzer after man pulled knife on her

PUBLISHED: 10:43 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 21 June 2019

Elizabeth Devery with Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved her by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Elizabeth Devery with Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved her by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A dog walker held at knifepoint by a man holding a hunting blade "inches from her throat" has said she feared she was facing death during the "horrific" experience.

Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved Elizabeth Devery his dog walker, by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved Elizabeth Devery his dog walker, by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Elizabeth Devery, a 59-year-old from Foulden, endured the "daunting" attempted robbery when a hoodie-clad youth tried to snatch her phone from her while she was sat in her car.

But the animal behaviouralist was protected by one of the dogs with her when seven-year-old schnauzer Wellington scared the would-be attacker off.

"If it had not been for him, he would have knifed me in the throat," she said.

"It's very daunting when you just see a pair of eyes and a knife coming at you and it's a few inches from your mouth.

Elizabeth Devery walking some of her client's dogs, with Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog, third right, who saved her by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYElizabeth Devery walking some of her client's dogs, with Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog, third right, who saved her by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"You think: 'Am I a goner?'"

Mrs Devery was out walking the seven dogs she regularly cares for in a "tranquil" area of West Acre, when she saw a man in his early 20s in dark clothes with a bandana across the lower half of his face.

"I finished the walk and parked at Warren Cottages," she said.

"I was sitting in the driver's seat with the door open at 11.55am.

Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved Elizabeth Devery his dog walker, by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved Elizabeth Devery his dog walker, by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"I leaned over to get my phone and all of a sudden he was at my open car door saying 'just give it to me'.

"I went to pull the door shut and he pulled out a knife and pointed it at my throat. It was a few inches from my mouth.

"I think he thought I'd taken a picture of him and he was determined to get it off me.

"Wellington just flew for him.

Elizabeth Devery with Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved her by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYElizabeth Devery with Wellington, the standard schnauzer dog who saved her by scaring away a man who threatened her with a hunting knife when she got back to her car after walking her client's dogs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"He scrambled across me and left claw marks.

"He was totally determined - he would have bitten him, definitely.

"My own dog just sat there.

"He saved me. This chap could have knifed him - how do you tell an owner that?"

Mrs Devery said the man ran behind her car and disappeared behind the nearby cottages.

"He either went in or legged it across the field," she said.

"I put Wellington on the passenger seat and locked myself in - my heart was in my mouth."

Police were called to her friend's house where she gave them a description of the attacker.

"All I could see were his eyes and eyebrows," she said.

"He wore black trousers, black trainers and a dark brown hoodie.

"He had a bandana over his mouth and nose, and dark eyes."

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She added that the blade she was threatened with, thought to have been a Bowie knife, had a big handle and a curved blade.

"I've only seen hunting knives like that in pictures," she added.

The businesswoman said the experience had left her shaken.

"I've lived with this every day," she said. "I've never experienced anything quite like it.

"I have had a few nightmares."

But the dog behaviour expert, who moved to Norfolk in 2012, said she refused to be cowed by the attack.

"I'm not going to let some low-life jeopardise my business," she said.

"It's taken me two years to build up. I've got my spray and my rape alarm and I'm thinking about taking a self-defence course."

And Mrs Devery even believes she has seen her attacker since.

She said: "Two weeks later, who did I see - the same youth but he was in a different hoodie.

"I approached in my car and said 'it's you, I know it's you' - he went straight over a barbed wire fence and legged it across a field.

"Why would he do that if he wasn't guilty?"

But Mrs Devery, who founded PawsOutdoors in 2013, also said she had felt let down by the police response to the incident.

She said: "They know who he is but haven't got enough evidence.

"I have a feeling he'll lay low for a while and then next time he'll do it properly.

"You can see it in his eyes."

She added: "I don't feel as if I've had any support.

"No one from victim support has phoned me. I walk with an ex-army chap and he's given me far more support than the police.

"I'm sure they've got more important things to do but I felt they brushed it to one side.

"Are they going to wait for someone else to get stabbed?"

A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary said: "Officers from King's Lynn CID investigated the incident and while a suspect was identified, there was insufficient evidence to pursue the matter further.

"We are not investigating any linked incidents in the area."

A spokesperson for Victim Support said: "We are very sorry that Mrs Devery has been left feeling unsupported and we understand how distressing this is.

"All cases referred by the police are contacted by Victim Support offering a support service.

"Based on the information we received from the police, Mrs Devery was sent details on how to access our service. However, we will ensure she is contacted directly by a case worker with a further offer of help and support."

Following the terrifying ordeal of Wednesday, April 17, Mrs Devery plans to thank Wellington's owners with a gift at Little Dunham dog show, on Saturday, June 29.

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