Couple attacked over car keys

A DOCTOR was knocked unconscious and his wife was punched in the face in a savage attack at their home by a robber who demanded the keys to a car.The community of Dovercourt yesterdayexpressed its shock and sadness after the assault upon well-known GP Dr Richard Perry whose jaw was broken in the assault.

A DOCTOR was knocked unconscious and his wife was punched in the face in a savage attack at their home by a robber who demanded the keys to a car.

The community of Dovercourt yesterdayexpressed its shock and sadness after the assault upon well-known GP Dr Richard Perry whose jaw was broken in the assault.

The “vicious and unprovoked” attack happened at about 6.30pm on Thursdaywhen a man wearing a black bomber jacket came to the door of the couple's home in Fronks Road and asked if he could borrow their Audi A3.

When Dr Perry, who is a lay reader at All Saints Church in Dovercourt, refused, the man tried to steal the car keys and punched the GP in the face, which knocked him unconscious.

Dr Perry's wife, Elizabeth, heard the commotion and came to the front of the house and was also hit in the face, which caused damage to her mouth and teeth.

The thug rooted through the doctor's pockets as he lay on the ground and took his mobile phone and keys to the Audi before escaping on foot in the direction of Upper Dovercourt and Highfield Avenue.

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Police cordoned off the area around the houses and the doctor and his wife were taken to Colchester General Hospital.

He was kept in overnight and was yesterday in a “comfortable” condition. Mrs Perry was released later in the evening but could require more treatment.

At their home, where well wishers had stopped to leave flowers, Mrs Perry said she and her husband had been left deeply shocked by the violent attack.

“We were both very shocked, my husband is still in hospital. I don't really want to say anything more at the moment,” she said.

It is not clear at this stage if the attacker was one of the doctor's patients or if it was a random assault.

Next-door neighbour and patient, Tracey Cochrane, 38, said the area was normally very quiet.

She said: “Everyone knows everybody here - we did not hear anything. It has really shocked people. It is a very trusting neighbourhood and we never normally look through the glass when we answer the door.

“They are really nice people and we just can't believe it had happened to them. We are very shocked.”

A spokesman for Dovercourt Health Centre in Main Road, where Dr Perry works, said: “The health centre is really upset and shocked to hear of the accident but do not know anymore details at the moment.”

Vickie Williams, chairwoman of Tendring Health Action Group said she had had her run-ins with Dr Perry about health issues, but added she wished him all the best in his recovery.

Jenny Robinson, the communications manager for the Diocese of Chelmsford said: “We were very distressed to hear of the attack on Dr Perry and his wife.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them both that they may make a full recovery.”

British Medical Association spokesman, Dr John Cormack, said attacks on doctors are now more frequent.

He said: “Attacks on medical staff are on the rise and becoming ever more common and it is extremely worrying. In the past when people used to get irate if you wanted to be seen and could not be seen, but now violence is ever more common and is clearly something the Government has to address.”

He added the involvement of drugs was something closely associated with the attacks and the future of home visits could be forced to end.

“I send our sympathies to Doctor Perry and his family,” he added.

Last night, Det Con Terry Lambert of Clacton police said: “This was a savage and unprovoked attack and the man who did it must be regarded as dangerous.”

The attacker was in his twenties, white, and about 6ft to 6ft2ins and wore a dark coloured bobble hat.

Anyone who had any information about the incident should contact Clacton police on 01255 221312 or Crimestoppers on freephone 0800555111.

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