Article from Readers Digest, December 1996

Mother Courage

Photograph of Pam Mills

Magistrate and charity worker Pam Mills never stood any nonsense from her three sons. So when a young armed robber burst into a bank in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, as she was paying in charity cash, she treated him like a naughty boy. When he demanded the money, she calmly told him, "Don't be so silly." It was only when the robber levelled a double-barrelled gun at her stomach that she realized the situation was serious.

"I looked at it and thought, Oh my God! Again I blurted out, 'Don't be silly' and knocked the weapon up towards the ceiling. I thought that if it was going to go off at least it would only hit the roof." The raider turned and fled. The 'gun' turned out to be two metal pipes bound together by 22-year-old Carl Barnes, on the run from a four-year jail sentence for robbery.

Pam, 50, was commended for her bravery by Northamptonshire Chief Constable Edward Crew: "But for her prompt and courageous action a robbery would have, been committed." She has received two further bravery awards following the incident.

Carl Barnes received a seven-year sentence for attempted armed robbery.