Elderly Woman, 80, Uses Her Martial Arts Skills to Fend off Two 21-Year-Old Thieves

An 80-year-old woman fended off two 21-year-old thieves who were trying to raid her home in France by using her martial arts skills.

Two 21-year-old men appeared at the Béziers criminal court on Friday for assaulting and attempting to steal from her home in Agde in the southern region of Hérault on November 17, according to France Bleu.

It emerged that the men, both from Frontignan, had thought the woman was wealthy so planned to target her house but it was in fact a modest home on the Hérault river, the broadcaster said.

One of the men, a former legionnaire, was wearing a motorcycle helmet and was carrying a semi-automatic pistol, when he rang the doorbell. The gun has not been found, the court reportedly heard.

The woman, who is Belgian and has been described as a "master" in martial arts by French media, opened the door and was confronted by one of the two men.

Instead of retreating, she kicked him in the testicles before punching him several times, according to France Bleu.

As the man tried to contain her, she reportedly struggled as much as she could before screaming loudly to alert neighbours.

Three people came running to help and as they arrived to help, reports say the man attempted to grab the jewelry the elderly lady was wearing but to no avail.

bezier palais de justice
The Bezier Criminal Court in southern France. Google Maps

He then fled, joining the other man who was reportedly waiting on a stolen motorcycle in front of the house. They drove off without having stolen anything.

The driver of the motorcycle, a former soldier, was arrested last week after the discovery of several of his fingerprints at the scene, France Blue said.

The other man who confronted the woman has been sentenced five times in the past, including spending three years in prison for aggravated theft before being released last April, the media outlet added.

He now reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison so asked for a trial postponement in court to prepare his defense. Both men have been remanded in custody as they await trial, reports say.

Meanwhile, the 80-year-old woman sustained wounds to her hands in the attack and has now been given 30 days of Incapacité Temporaire Totale de Travail (ITT), which means time off work due to her injuries.

Newsweek has contacted the local police in Adge for comment.