Published: 00:01, 12 October 2017
A mother has spoken of the terrifying moment she was attacked by a knife-wielding man in a supermarket car park early in the afternoon, leaving her dripping with blood.
The apparently unprovoked assault happened outside the busy Tesco store in Bridge Road, Sheerness, as stunned shoppers watched in horror.
Charlene Gibbard, 31, was sitting in the passenger seat of her car while her husband Westley was shopping for dinner.
The couple’s daughter Eila had fallen asleep on the back seat.
Mrs Gibbard told KentOnline's sister paper, the Sheerness Times Guardian: “It was really scary.
“I had been sitting there for about five minutes when all of a sudden a total stranger opened the driver’s door and climbed in with a knife.
“He just said ‘Don’t say nothing’.
“I could see the knife and thought he was going to use it on me.
“I screamed ‘Oh my god’ and grabbed the knife to try to point it outside the car and at the same time scrabbled to undo my seat belt.
“Somehow I managed to push the man out of the car.
“Then I jumped out and opened the back door and dragged Eila out. I was screaming for help.
“I heard the man drop the knife and saw people running to help. They held him until the police arrived.
“I ran to Tesco yelling for Westley. I was shaking and having trouble breathing.
"I could see the knife and thought he was going to use it on me" - Charlene Gibbard
“I didn’t know it at the time but I had cut my fingers on the knife and blood was dripping everywhere.”
Mrs Gibbard, from Scocles Road, Minster, added: “It was later when I realised that both Eila and I could have been stabbed that the shock really set in.
“I haven’t been able to sit in a car on my own since and I get really jumpy.
“It all happened so fast. I never expected anything like this to happen in Sheerness, especially at that time of the day.
“I was born and brought up on Sheppey and always thought it was a relatively safe place.”
The couple had been about to go on the school run to collect their two other children, aged nine and 11.
Mrs Gibbard’s slashed hand was treated at the scene by paramedics from South East Coast Ambulance Service. She did not need hospital treatment.
Her mother, Sharon Hardman, later posted a warning on Facebook.
She wrote: “Charlene was left badly shaken and very emotional at the thought she and Eila could have been seriously hurt or lost their lives.
“I want to share this with everyone I know so they can keep themselves safe.
“As a family we are proud of how well Charlene managed in such a difficult and unexpected attack.
“We are so grateful we still have her with us. This could have had a much worse ending.”
It is believed staff from Tesco helped restrain the man.
Police confirmed they were called to a “disturbance involving a knife” at 2.45pm on Tuesday, October 3.
A spokesman said: “Officers attended and arrested a 20-year-old man on suspicion of assault and theft.
“The woman was treated at the scene for an injury to her thumb.”
Ashley Cobb, 20, of Emerald View, Warden, appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court last Thursday charged with affray, possessing a knife, theft and criminal damage.
He was remanded in custody and will appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday, November 2. He did not enter a plea.
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