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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Saturday, 17 January 2009

Well, late in the night on last Thursday (15th January), I experienced one of those 'life experiences' that I have fortunate enough to have avoided for 29 years of my life! A mugging - well actually - a robbery - affecting myself!

I was in London for an all-day meeting and spent the evening socialising with the Business teams at the end of the long-day in the office. I took the 23:02 train from London Victoria, and arrived back to Haywards Heath at approx. 23:45. I was carrying all of my work items as well as personal artefacts, ranging from laptop, blackberry (work mobile), personal mobile phone, iPod Touch, wallet, cash and credit cards - and had just entered the main car park of the Train Station to walk to my car.

Whilst I was passing the Vallet building situated within the car park, a young man approached me from his car and shouted "Oi, where are you going". I ignored him at first, as I had thought he was talking to someone else, only when he repeated his shout and requested me to stop, did I look up and notice he was walking towards me and blocked my path between me and my car.

I didn't know what to think - as I was so tired from the a tough 2-3 days of work - I just wanted to get to my car and get home to sleep. However, he made it very clear that he was after something, as he asked me for all of my money, and commenting that he a knife. At this point, I looked down and noticed the 5-6 blade pointing downwards in the right-hand, shining in the light of this car - which noticably was pointing towards us (facing the vallet building / rail tracks) with the head-lights on and engine running.

During this time, a girl joined him - whom I presume was the muggers girlfriend. She didn't say anything, but did seem to be supporting him. There was hardly anyone around, as there was only 20-30 or so cars left in the car park, so I knew I really didn't have much choice, and didn't want to get stabbed and be left for dead for someone to find!

I stood and froze for a moment - only then did he repeat the message that he wanted all of my money. At this point, I decided that I would give him what I had, and hoped he would let me go. He started swinging the knife at which point, I took out my wallet and gave him the folded notes I had on me...beggars belief what he would have done if I didn't have any!! Fortunately, I had some on me, £50 in total (3x £10 and 1x £20)!!!

I actually withdraw the £50 from the cash machine in Victoria before I went out that evening - thinking I would need it for taxi fares etc - and didn't use any of it in the end. I had thought about slipping him a £20 only, but realised that as all of the notes were folded together, the criminal suspect would have probably noticed that I had more - and could have asked for the rest or worse the whole wallet - or even attacked me afterwards. I didn't want to risk of exacerbating the confrontation, so gave him the £50, and showed that my wallet was empty. He then took the money and calmly walked back to his car.

I didn't want to waste any more time, and I quickly continued to walk to the car which was at least another 20-30 seconds away.

I came home and reported the incident to the police - who came around to my home for a statement. When I was recounting the events, did I start feeling this coldness flow through my body. It took about an hour or so to go through the events and anything else I could think off. It wasn't pleasant to have to keep going over the events again, and again - yet alone experience it in the first place.

What a shocking event to experience and to mar what was generally a pleasant day - I certainly wasn't expecting this at the end of a long day, and more importantly, not in Haywards Heath! I feel it was simply an opportunistic person obviously looking for a mark (in this case, me!) - and I was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time! This was an experience I never want to witness or occur to me ever again! He must have been watching people walking by late that night – but why me?

The case-file has now been transferred to the British Transport Police - as the incident occured on Network Rail's property (the Station Car Park). I just hope they catch the two of them, before they try it again. I can only imagine what they wanted to use the money for!

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