Passers by "ignored" attacked pensioner

A DISABLED pensioner attacked and wounded in broad daylight on Clacton's seafront has told how passers-by ignored his ordeal.Derek Gull, 76, was sitting on a bench watching youngsters playing football on the beach when he was viciously assaulted by two would-be robbers intent on stealing his watch.

By Roddy Ashworth

A DISABLED pensioner attacked and wounded in broad daylight on Clacton's seafront has told how passers-by ignored his ordeal.

Derek Gull, 76, was sitting on a bench watching youngsters playing football on the beach when he was viciously assaulted by two would-be robbers intent on stealing his watch.

But Mr Gull, who was on a day trip to the resort, refused to let them take it and after a struggle - in which both his wrists were broken and he was hit in the face with a brick - he was thrown down an embankment.


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After being battered by the pair of thugs, the retired electrician staggered into the town covered in blood and with his eyes streaming. But nobody paid any attention, he said.

“At least a dozen people walked past and did not bother to do anything - they just ignored me,” said Mr Gull.

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“It's disgusting. My whole family is upset about it. I suppose people just don't want to get involved any more - they don't seem to care.”

The pensioner had been visiting Clacton on a day-trip with a working men's club. He had left his companions in order to visit a friend at a bowling club and agreed to meet up with them later at a restaurant.

On his way back Mr Gull, who suffers from curvature of the spine, stopped at a park bench overlooking the sea for a rest.

Mr Gull, from Rainham, said during the sudden and unexpected assault that followed he refused to let his attackers steal his watch because it had been given to him as a special gift from his wife, Violet.

Despite his frailty, he struggled determinedly as the first attacker tried to wrench it from his wrist.

“It was a golden wedding anniversary present from my wife, so he would have to kill me to get it.

“I clenched my fist so he couldn't get it off me. Then he pulled my arm through the slats and twisted it until it broke.

“I heard him say to someone else 'hit him' and the next thing I knew half a brick hit me in the face, breaking my nose.

“There was blood everywhere and my eyes were watering. I couldn't see a thing.

“I got my faculties together and tried to make my way back to the restaurant but I was covered in blood and it was pouring out of my nose.

“I must have passed about half a dozen people but no-one asked me what had happened or offered to help me.

“At the time I was so upset that people just ignored me but looking back I suppose they just didn't want to get involved or maybe they thought I was drunk.

“If it was me though, I would have gone out of my way to help someone in that situation.”

Mr Gull spoke to police locally but wanted to get home with the coach that was taking other members of the club.

He did not realise how seriously he was hurt until he met with his family at home, who took him to hospital, where he collapsed.

Yesterday Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, which encompasses Clacton, said: “This is an unforgivable attack, let alone on a vulnerable visitor to Clacton. I can't believe what these toe-rags have done.

“However, street robbery is very rare in Clacton. I am amazed nobody came to his assistance. It is likely that the people he passed in that area would have been visitors themselves.

“Most of the area is covered by CCTV so hopefully we can find out who did this. It is awful.”

Anybody who witnessed the attack, which happened on June 7, is asked to contact Essex Police on 01255 221312.

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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