Blind BBC Reporter Gets Best Of Mugger

by Kevin Burton

   A blind BBC reporter, retrieved his cell phone from a mugger and restrained the assailant until help arrived, multiple sources reported in late December.

   “Wrong blind person, wrong day,” said Sean Dilley, a blind news reporter and project lead for the BBC’s Reframing Disability program.

   Dilley was taking a break from his night shift job with the BBC in London when a person on a bicycle rode by and snatched his iPhone 14.

   “However, the thief didn’t know who he was messing with and Dilley was able to get his phone back,” reported

  “A man on a bike just snatched and stole my iPhone from my hand, wrong blind person, wrong day. Jumped on him, safely detained and got my phone back. Quite a few cuts and bruises,” Dilley wrote on Twitter.

   “I took a running jump and dive on the thief and knocked him off his bike and onto the floor I recover my phone, advised him that he was detained and called @ metpoliceuk on 999,” he continued. “I did let him go after a few minutes, but only when others arrive to help me.”

   “I absolutely could have continued to detain the gentleman, but I got my phone back and I actually didn’t want to risk injuring him I had him safely, detained on the floor, with my body weight across his legs and his wrists held to the floor.”

   After Dilley let him go, the robber fled the scene of the crime.

   “The suspect left the scene in the direction of Greenwell Street. Enquiries are ongoing to locate them,” the Met Police said in a statement.

   The crime took place at about 6 a.m. local time on Dec. 27, according to news accounts. One photo accompanying a story shows an unsmiling Dilley with his cell phone in his right hand, his folding white cane in his left.

   Got to be honest here, I was hoping to read that when others arrived to help that they surrounded the guy and demonstrated forcefully, just how much they disapproved of people who attack blind people.

   That the thief did not get a beatdown is one way you can tell this story happened in London as opposed to say, Philadelphia, city of brotherly love, USA.

   The story is told of my late, totally blind friend and former beep baseball teammate Greg Gontaryk being attacked and Greg turning the tables on the criminal and giving him a pretty good beating.  Greg was from Philadelphia, trained in martial arts and not one to trifle with.

   One news account credited Dilley with “quick thinking” in getting his phone back. But Dilley himself later said the move was stupid. 

   “I know it’s a really stupid thing to have done, but I’m so proud of myself,” Dilley said via Twitter.

   Responding to a Twitter user who said “I don’t know how on earth you did this without sight,” Dilley said a “very noisy bike, very fast, reflexes and adrenaline” helped while “the out of breath thief made a perfect audio target.”

   Dilley said he used “no more than low and reasonable force” to restrain the robber, adding: “It was instinctive, definitely not brave.”

    The goal of the BBC’s Reframing Disability training program, that Dilley helps run, is “to ensure that the way we cover disability and feature disabled contributors in our content is authentic and inclusive, and to ensure that our production practices themselves are accessible,” according to the BBC website.

   Since its launch in April of 2021 the program has trained more than 130 BBC and Indie producers to have a more realistic view of disability, according to the website.

   “One learner described the best part of the training as ‘reflecting on the many aspects of disability, to see why it matters to everybody. It can only be good for our journalism and lead to more inclusive and wider reaching coverage,” the website reads.

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1 Comment

  1. Well good for him! Maybe it wasn’t a sure thing, but blind people are much more able to defend themselves or answer an attack than people give them credit for being. Don’t think that just because I’m blind I can’t do what needs to be done. It’s usually true that I know far more than you think about where you are and whether or not I might be able to strike out or grab you. Even those of us who are blind underestimate what we can do and it’s high time we stop shorting ourselves of the skills and possibilities we may achieve.

    Tracy Duffy


    Liked by 1 person

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