A Scottish children’s television presenter and actor has been attacked and mugged while walking home from her charity shop near her home.
Kate Copstick said two men “dressed like ninjas” put her in a “chokehold” and threw her to the ground before stealing more than £8,500 during the incident in the Shepherd’s Bush area of West London on Saturday.
The 66-year-old, who featured in series including Chucklevision, No.73 and On the Waterfront, said the funds were meant for Mama Biashara, the organisation she founded aimed at helping women in Kenya.
An online crowdfunding page has since been set up in a bid to replace the stolen money.
In a statement, Copstick, who was born in Glasgow, said: “I was walking home, it wasn’t very late and the street I live on is very well lit, I heard running behind me and turned to see the kind of outfit you only normally see in TV dramas – someone dressed head-to-toe in black, with a full-face balaclava.
“He grabbed for my bag and I began to scream and shout for help, he put me in a chokehold and suddenly a second man – dressed exactly the same – appeared. I thought they were going to kill me.
“They kicked me to the ground, took the money and ran. I live in a not-posh area of Shepherd’s Bush – there is crime, there are muggings, but it’s generally kids looking to steal a few quid – not full-grown men essentially dressed like ninjas.”
She added: “They didn’t take anything else, which sadly means I was very likely targeted, and that someone knew I would be carrying a significant amount of charity cash with me. I’m talking to the police about that now.”
Copstick established the charity in 2008. Part of the organisation’s work is to remove women from situations in which they are at risk of being targeted by female genital mutilation (FGM).
She said a portion of the funds stolen was due to go to helping set up a group of women fleeing FGM, including paying for painkillers and antibiotics to help women they did not reach before the illegal practice took place.
“Ae are a very small charity,” she said.
“And whilst that comes with challenges of its own, it also means we are able to work on the ground, because we are known and trusted, we can access people in a way the bigger charities are not able to.
“The work we do saves lives and saves people from a life of misery. We have women and girls in hiding, waiting to be rescued, if we can’t raise the money fast, they are in significant danger of being found and returned to the people who will hurt them.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed an investigation into the attack had been launched.
They added: “Police were called at approximately 8.30pm on Saturday, September 3 to reports of a woman robbed of a quantity of cash in Shepherds Bush, W12.
“The woman, aged in her 60s, was not seriously hurt during the incident. Enquiries into the circumstances continue including work to secure any viable CCTV evidence.”