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Female pharmacy assistant in Malaga immobilises violent man using skills learnt in self-defence classes

CCTV captured the moment the 23-year-old young woman seized the opportunity to strike when the man, who was vandalising the chemist's store, briefly turned his back

Juan Cano

Malaga

Tuesday, 13 February 2024, 13:33

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A pharmacy assistant has stopped a man from vandalising a store in Malaga city after she used her kickboxing and self-defence skills to lunge at the intruder.

Carmen Sánchez, 23, has been practising kickboxing and self-defence for some time, but she was forced to put her skills into use at a pharmacy in the La Térmica area in Malaga city. Last week, Carmen was in the pharmacy with the other assistant preparing sales posters for a promotion when "we saw a man come in, shouting". "My colleague told him to take his things and leave. But he wouldn't leave and made a gesture to go behind the counter," Carmen added.

She repeatedly told him to take what he had come for and leave, "but he started to throw items from the counter onto the floor". "I told him: "Please leave. If you don't leave I'm going to throw you out," Carmen warned him.

The man, who was shirtless and barefoot, went across to a shelf next to the counter before Carmen "reached over and slapped it [the item] out of his hand. He responded with a push, turned around and went towards the counter".

Carmen knew it was the right time to act. She is trained for it. "I've been doing kickboxing for two years and I've been training in self-defence for four years. I started practising because I've always liked contact sports, but then, seeing how life has become, I decided to continue for my own safety," she said.

She threw him to the ground and held him down

Seeing the man's back was turned, Carmen lunged at him, knocked him to the ground and held him down. "The manoeuvre she used is called 'mataleón' in Spanish, which translates to 'kill lion'. I didn't want to knock him unconscious, I just wanted to immobilise him," she said.

The man started shouting: "'Police, police, police'" but to Carmen's surprise, "people passed by and came in to shop as if it was nothing. Some people even asked me to let him go".

It took about 10 minutes before the police arrived. Carmen does not know the man's motivation or whether he was armed. "He was carrying an object that looked like a small knife, although I didn't get a good look at it. At no point did he attack or steal anything, he was just breaking things. I thought he was on drugs, but the police confirmed that he was not," she said. The man, of Bulgarian origin, was arrested for threatening behaviour and public disorder. He is reportedly homeless.

Carmen's boss had nothing but praise for her when she looked at the footage of the security camera. "She told me that the important thing was that we were OK and thanked me for defending her pharmacy business like that."

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