GP and wife speak of assault horror

THE wife of a GP seriously assaulted after answering his own front door told last night how his attacker turned on her, punching her in the face.Elisabeth Perry, 56, was screaming for help after finding her husband Richard slumped outside their Fronks Road home in Dovercourt.

By Roddy Ashworth

THE wife of a GP seriously assaulted after answering his own front door told last night how his attacker turned on her, punching her in the face.

Elisabeth Perry, 56, was screaming for help after finding her husband Richard slumped outside their Fronks Road home in Dovercourt.

Behind him was a man holding Dr Perry's keys and trying to open the door of the Audi car in their drive.


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"I asked what he was doing. He said he was taking the car. I said 'No you're not!', because we were going on holiday the next day.

"I started to scream, hoping somebody would hear, and he said 'Shut up or I'll punch you' I screamed more, and he hit me straight in the face. I poured with blood."

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Mrs and Dr Perry were speaking of the shocking ordeal three weeks after the attack, which happened on November 14.

The assault left Mrs Perry with four badly damaged teeth and an injured back while Dr Perry, 58, suffered a suspected broken jaw.

It happened at around 6.30pm in the evening when Dr Perry heard the doorbell ring and went to answer it.

"There was a youngish man on our drive asking the way to Tyler Street in Parkeston," Dr Perry said.

"I told him it was a fair way, and he said it was too far. 'Can I borrow your car?' he said. I answered 'You must be joking' and that is the last thing I remember."

Dr Perry, a lay reader at Dovercourt's All Saints' Church, was beaten around the head before the robber rifled through his pockets as he lay in the porch and took his mobile phone and his car keys.

Mrs Perry, who has lived in Dovercourt all her life, said the attacker was obviously having problems with the security features on the keys when she arrived because he was unable to get into the car.

"After he hit me, Richard got up to try to get the keys and he shoved him again," she said. "I shrieked more and more, and then he just sauntered off. He didn't run. He just sauntered off.

"I didn't see him too well, because it was dark. He went off with the keys and the mobile phone. We have had the locks changed on the car.

"The police have been excellent. They were there within five minutes, and they came and saw us every day in the week afterwards. We were very impressed," she said.

Unfortunately, the couple missed their holiday to South Africa, which had been timed to coincide with Mrs Perry's birthday.

Dr Perry, who has lived in Dovercourt for 31 years, said: "We had been looking forward to our holiday. We were going to meet up with some friends. It was a nuisance.

"However, we have been absolutely overwhelmed by the cards, letters and flowers we have received from all sorts of people – not just friends and relatives but patients as well.

"We feel proud to have kept Dovercourt's florists and card shops alive and well.

"When I came back from hospital one lady turned up with two Tupperware containers of soup, saying she didn't think we would want to cook. It was wonderful. People have really rallied round."

However, the couple still feel uneasy in the wake of the unprovoked attack. Nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident.

"We don't really like answering the door in the evening. And we don't really like being out at night on dark streets," said Dr Perry.

"I think the frightening thing is if you go into a dangerous part of a big city you expect the possibility of trouble, but living somewhere quiet like Fronks Road - with one of the lowest crime rates in Essex - when something like this happens it does dent your confidence."

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