Shul security guard hailed as a hero for chasing and detaining a man who took baby from its mother

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Patrick Ozakunle said instinct kicked in when he heard a mother shouting ‘stop him he took my baby, he took my baby’

A security guard at a Salford shul has been labelled a hero after he chased and detained a man who had taken a baby off its mother.

Patrick Ozakunle, 50, has guarded Machzikei Hadass Synagogue, in Broughton Park for three years but said he had never had to react to anything like he did last Friday.

He chased after a man, who was carrying a baby, after he heard a woman screaming “‘stop him he took my baby, he took my baby”.

Mr Ozakunle was on duty outside the shul on the afternoon of March 22 when he notice a man walking past at an unusually “fast pace”.

“At first I didn’t think anything of it, but then I heard the mother’s scream,’” he told the JC.

Mr Ozakunle said his “instinct” kicked in and he chased after the man who by this point was running away.

“He got to the top of the road and I couldn’t see him. I was panicked, I had to find him. I knew he could not have gone far.

“One of the young children from the shul told me there was a place they used to play hide and seek behind the yeshiva.

“I looked there and I found him hiding and he was clutching the baby.”

Mr Ozakunle, who has three daughters aged six and two, said: “I would die for my girls. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if someone took them. I told the man ‘listen mate, give me back the baby’.”

Mr Ozakunle said the man refused but a member of the synagogue arrived and the pair were able to detain the man until the police arrived and arrested him.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed they were called shortly before 2pm on March 22 to Northumberland Street, Kersal, to a report of child abduction.

A man was arrested on suspicion of child abduction but was later released with no further action, a spokesperson said.

Police are treating it as a domestic incident.

Mr Ozakunle, said: “The mother was crying she was so relieved. She was saying ‘thank you, thank you.’

“I am so glad I was able to help her. I was just doing my job. I hope she gets help and is kept safe.”

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