The daughter of former British prime minister Tony Blair has been held at gunpoint by a masked man during an attempted armed robbery in Central London.
Kathryn Blair, 25, was near her home in the upscale Marylebone neighborhood on Monday night when she was confronted by a man wearing a balaclava who showed her his gun. Scotland Yard confirmed that witnesses saw the weapon but told The Daily Beast that no shots had been fired.
Kathryn, who grew up behind the towering metal gates of Downing Street, is typically assigned no security despite her father’s controversial record as prime minister, which still attracts widespread protest whenever he appears at public events. His involvement in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is thought to have made him a potential target for terrorist attacks.
The young lawyer was returning to her townhouse near Regents Park with her boyfriend when she was accosted soon after dark. The attacker reportedly demanded cash and jewelry. Officers believe the gunman and an accomplice, who had a scarf tied around his face, fled when they realized the couple were part of a larger group of friends.
A spokesman for the former prime minister and his wife, Cherie, said their daughter was unharmed. "Kathryn was with a group of friends. No one was hurt and nothing was stolen," he said.
“She must have been absolutely terrified. I can’t imagine what must have gone through her mind”
Police officers said they believed the assailant had made another failed attempt to rob a woman at gunpoint just half an hour earlier in a nearby street.
One of Kathryn’s neighbors told London’s Daily Express newspaper that the former resident of No 10 appeared to take no security measures. “She must have been absolutely terrified. I can’t imagine what must have gone through her mind when she saw a man pull out a gun. My first thought would have been ‘terrorist’,” they said. “You would hardly believe her connections unless you knew her as she appears to live such a normal life but this highlights the danger of not living amid all that security.”
Scotland Yard was alerted to the attempted robberies at around 8.30 p.m. (BST) on Monday. Officers, who have made no arrests issued an appeal for witnesses Thursday. Detective Inspector Chris Rhodes said an investigation was underway. "Fortunately none of the victims were injured and nothing was stolen. However, being confronted by an armed man is deeply distressing,” he said.
Gun crime in Britain is rare and has fallen by about 40 per cent over the past decade. According to government statistics, 39 people were shot dead in 2011/12.
Kathryn was confronted in London one day after spending the weekend at the wedding of her brother, Euan, in Buckinghamshire. After the service, the former prime minister invited the 200 guests, including a prince, millionaires and a host of former government ministers, back to their nearby country house at Wotton Underwood.
The Blairs bought a home for their daughter in Marylebone in 2010, it is close to their own property in Connaught Square, which is estimated to be worth around $12 million. Kathryn has emulated her parents by taking up a successful career in the law. Last year, she became a barrister, one of a small number of British lawyers allowed to act in court, when she was selected to join the elite Lincoln’s Inn about 40 years after her parents joined the same organization.