Fancy dress man battered with plank

A MAN who was horrifically beaten with a piece of wood after leaving a fancy dress party has appealed for the public's help to catch his attackers.

Elliot Furniss

A MAN who was horrifically beaten with a piece of wood after leaving a fancy dress party has appealed for the public's help to catch his attackers.

Self-employed electrician Andrew Duckworth celebrated his 29th birthday with the party at Escape Nightclub in Marks Tey, near Colchester, but as he made his way back to his sister's house in Braintree, he was set-upon in a motiveless attack.

Mr Duckworth, still dressed as Lois Lane, the character from the Superman film, was making his way along Coggeshall Road when the incident happened.

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Two young men began shouting abuse at him before launching into the unprovoked attack near the junction with Marks Farm.

The father-of-one was beaten around the head with a strip of wood and hit his head on the pavement.

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He sustained extensive mouth injures, lost six teeth, fractured his skull and jaw and suffered extensive bruising.

Speaking from his sister Janine's home in Coggeshall Road, Mr Duckworth called for the public to help identify his assailants and bring them to justice.

He said: “They must have been bragging about this to people since. I just want these boys caught, now.

“The two lads were across the road outside the shop, just hanging around and talking to each other. I was still dressed as a woman and they started hollering, screaming and swearing and calling me names.”

Mr Duckworth usually lives in London but was staying in Braintree while spending time with his four-year-old daughter Wendy.

He said: “When I took my wig off they went mental. One of them went up the road and started ripping off this piece of fence and had a huge bit of wood - they were just threatening me, screaming and shouting.”

The man with the wood continued shouting at Mr Duckworth while the other confronted the friend who had come to his aid, who was still dressed as Superman from the party.

Mr Duckworth said he was momentarily distracted and the young thug took his chance, striking him around the head and chest with the piece of fence, which had nails sticking out of it.

He said: “My sister came out and as I turned this piece of wood just went 'smash'. I didn't see it coming.

“I was out cold - I don't remember a thing until the next day when I woke up at about 2pm in the hospital bed.

“It was an unprovoked attack - that's what gets me. We were telling them 'we don't want trouble'.

“They could have killed me. The thing that scares me is that they started on me as a woman. If it was some poor girl, then this easily could have been something horrific.”

The incident happened at about 4.40am on the morning of Friday September 7.

Mr Duckworth was in Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford for nine days and although he is now recovering at his sister's house, he has been left shaken by his ordeal.

He said: “I have got no sense of taste or smell. I've lost a stone-and-a-half since I went to hospital and I just want my teeth back. I have constant headaches and I can't work again until they stop.”

Detective Constable Jo Smith said it was a “most despicable assault” on someone who was just minding his own business.

She said: “The perpetrators of this crime should be ashamed of themselves and we're hoping friends, loved ones or other Braintree residents can help us to ensure they do not walk our streets for a long time.

“We will not tolerate mindless violence in Essex.”

A piece of wood thought to have been used in the attack has been recovered and is being examined.

Anyone with information about Mr Duckworth's attackers can contact officers at Braintree Police Station on 0300 3334444.

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