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Over the last four years, the city of London, England has been protected by a guardian angel, who calls himself “the Shadow.” Nonetheless, the media seems insistent on naming him “the Bromley Batman.” Aged 31, tall, bearded, and dressed in combat trousers, a tight black shirt, and a bandana, the as-yet anonymous vigilante has been making trouble for criminals throughout London and even while on vacation in Cornwall, in numerous incidents involving mugging, sexual assaults, and racist attacks. Despite working a full-time job, he regularly takes to the streets at night to safeguard the people of London, specifically the boroughs of Lewisham and Bromley, which are both in the Southern areas of London.
On September 22nd, 2015, ShortList reported that he fought off racist thugs “like a battering ram.” The victim, in particular, 26-year-old, Damien Ford was attacked by “two big meatheads with shaved heads” as he was walking home, drunk, on a Friday night. Ford, a black man, stated: “They pushed me about, swearing but not asking for my money, which is why I thought they were probably racist. I think they just wanted to have a bit of fun because I was tipsy and an easy target” according to ShortList. As the men began punching him in the stomach, Ford glimpsed a figure rushing towards the assault. “The ‘Batman’ ran over from the other side of the road near the train station into one of them like a battering ram, sending him down to the floor with momentum… All I remember is him taking one down and then getting the other in a wrist lock and pushing them both together and pinning them down. He was a big guy so he used his size to his advantage.” Ford would later send a message to the Shadow via the Evening Standard: “It meant I could get home to see my family, which I thank him and God for… Normally I would have got stuck in and had a go but [that night] I couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag.”
The Shadow himself spoke to the Evening Standard about the encounter: “All I know is [the victim] was being pushed around by two very drunk men. I was having a very quiet nighttime patrol until this happened. I heard them shouting so I ran over and stopped the men attacking him. He was so pissed he could barely run, which meant I had to hold the men off until he got far enough away.” Addressing those who were more interested in making a difference and showing their gratitude, he suggested donating to Victim Support, which is a charity that helps people cope, after a crime. “They run on donations, and this really is a necessary and wonderful service. I would like to bring this more to the mainstream attention of the public,” the Evening Standard reports him as saying.
On March 24th, 2016, the Express reported that he had fought off a mugging in Devon. A couple had been walking to their car after dinner at around 11 PM when they were jumped by a seemingly homeless man. According to the Exeter Express and Echo, the woman, who worked in a local law firm, notes that he “grabbed the man and twisted his arm up his back and laid him down on the ground kneeling on his back. Then turned to us and said ‘get the hell out of here you morons’. When we looked online we saw the Bromley Batman had been spotted in Newquay last year and we wondered if he might be on holiday again. He looked the part all in black with the mask and slightly bearded and was about six-feet-something, and he was a large man. We didn’t report the incident as my partner said ‘what would be the point’ and the police would probably laugh at us anyway.”
His skill is not insignificant. He has previously been reported simultaneously defeating three knife-wielding thugs while protecting a city worker, and some unsubstantiated reports have him fighting professional criminals. In an anonymous email interview with the Evening Standard in 2015, he notes having trained in martial arts from a young age and supporting his family with a full-time job. Many rumours abounded as to his identity, with The Sun suggesting that the personal trainer, Adnan Tatlicioglu was the prime suspect, a theory which has now been debunked. He has impressed Newquay Mayor Dave Sleeman, who said that the town ought to “employ him permanently… He would do a brilliant job for the town,” according to the Plymouth Herald. His fan base also extends to Twitter – the @BatmanBromley account seeks to alert followers of any new activity by this hero.
Sid Ohmygod of the Medium Corporation unsuccessfully attempted to investigate and uncover the daredevil, theorizing that there may even be multiple people donning the mantle. Despite his notoriety, even in the neighbourhoods that he operates in, he is little known. All reports of him match the same description given above, so the idea of multiple crime fighters may be a stretch. Police in the areas where he has saved people, do not report any sightings.
Regardless of who he may be, it is very clear that the Shadow is having a very positive effect on crime, by protecting the safety of innocent civilians. It is a very clear example of a grassroots, one-man movement against crime. Such an initiative should be applauded, especially considering that this man does not expect any compensation. Many would use this opportunity as a platform for their own self-promotion, but instead, he is content with protecting others anonymously.