Man jailed for eight years after stealing car with 89-year-old passenger

Date published: 13 April 2024

David Stephenson (aged 51), of no fixed abode, has been jailed for eight years and six months after being found guilty of kidnap, theft of motor vehicle, dangerous driving and driving without a license.

On Saturday, January 6, 2024, Greater Manchester Police received a panicked call from the daughter of an 89-year-old woman whose car had been stolen from nearby Ashton… with her mother in it.

As it was January, she had left the engine running to keep the heating on in the car to keep her elderly mother warm for 10 minutes while she went into the shops. 

Stephenson, not phased by the fact a vulnerable elderly woman was in the passenger seat, got in the car and drove off.

Specialist officers from GMP's Roads Policing Unit were immediately notified, and due to the risk posed to the passenger, a pursuit was authorised.

Thankfully, police were able to bring the car to a safe stop, detain Stephenson, and reunite the victim with her daughter.

Chief Inspector Matt Jackson, from GMP's Specialist Operations, said: “This must have been really terrifying for the woman who was in the passenger seat when the car got stolen.

"She is blind and has dementia, she wouldn’t have known what was going on - I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through her mind.

“I am proud of my officers, whose fast thinking and ability to remain calm in any given situation, meant we were able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, and swiftly arrest Stephenson.

“Their response meant that the woman was safety reunited with her daughter, it could have ended very differently if we didn’t work the way we did to get her back safe.”

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