Man 'feared for his life' as robbers slashed face 18 times
PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 January 2020
A 23-year-old says he "feared for his life" when a group of masked men jumped out of bushes and pinned him down in an armed robbery in Newmarket, leaving him with 18 cuts to his face and neck.
Richard Phillips says he will "never walk down the road again" after he was slashed with a sharp object in an unprovoked attack in Yellow Brick Road.
Mr Phillips was taking his usual route to his night shift in town - where he works at the Hermes warehouse - when a group of three men jumped out of the bushes.
He said: "They were all dressed in black balaclavas, hoodies and gloves.
"One of the men told me to empty my pockets but I tried to run away and I must have got about 15 feet before one tripped me up."
The 23-year-old reports that he was then pinned to the ground while one of the men searched his pockets.
"I was punched in the face then slashed with some sort of blade," explained Richard.
The three men ran off with his wallet, leaving Mr Phillips in pain and with blood all over his face.
Speaking of the incident, Mr Phillips said: "It was really scary. When they started going for my neck I was worried as I couldn't tell whether they were using a knife or how deep they were cutting. That's when the panic kicked in."
Mr Phillips says he "feared for his life" and the attack has set off his anxiety.
"Yellow Brick Road is known for bad experiences," he said. "I won't be walking down there at night again."
Fortunately he didn't require any hospital treatment, but the cuts on his face have left him "embarrassed" and people have been "staring at him in the street".
His mum Kerry says she was "heartbroken" when she saw her son's face turn up at the door.
She said: "Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously hurt.
"There should be signs telling people not to go down Yellow Brick Road at night, it's too dangerous.
"When we moved here 15 years ago we would leave our doors open and walk anywhere, but it is so different now."
Last year, CCTV was installed by the council to increase community safety as well as to tackle and prevent County Lines Crime - after residents asked for a solution.
Kerry said: "The new CCTV down there is brilliant, and I really hope the cameras pick the men up. But I think more people should be warned about going down there at night."
Officers from Suffolk police issued an appeal to trace the men, who are described as being about 5ft 9in and of medium build.
Anyone who saw any suspicious activity or who has knowledge of who committed the offence is asked to contact Bury St Edmunds CID, quoting reference crime number: 37/1202/20.