Victim to relive attack to meeting

THE victim of a violent unprovoked attack has revealed he feels safer in London than on the streets of Essex. William Coffinwas with three friends in Wivenhoe when they were approached by a group of men who told them to leave the town because they were students.

THE victim of a violent unprovoked attack has revealed he feels safer in London than on the streets of Essex.

William Coffinwas with three friends in Wivenhoe when they were approached by a group of men who told them to leave the town because they were students.

As they walked away from the confrontation, the charity worker was hit over the head and knocked unconscious.

He was then kicked repeatedly leaving him covered in blood with a cracked tooth and a suspected broken nose and bruising to his body.


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Tonight Mr Coffin, who lived on the Greenstead Estate in Colchester as a student will speak about his ordeal to Wivenhoe Town Council.

The move follows a candlelit march by students from Essex University last week to highlight a spate of attacks near the Wivenhoe campus which has created a "climate of fear".

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Mr Coffin, 33, said the attack had made him nervous and was taking medication every day for the pain.

He said: "I live in Plaistow in the East End of London and am used to seeing the kids hanging round on the streets, but have had nothing like this happen and I now feel safer here than in Wivenhoe.

"But I am not going to let it get me down and I will go back there and carry on going out."

Mr Coffin said students at Essex University were both upset and angry about constantly being attacked and harassed in the area around the Tesco store at the Hythe.

"Some are upset and some are frightened and a lot are international students and do not know what their rights are - they fear that if they defend themselves by fighting back they will be deported.

"Many are from countries where people are not used to trusting the police, so there is a real problem in communicating their concerns about what is happening," he said.

Mr Coffin's attack followed a night out with three student friends as they walked along the Avenue on March 5 at about 11.30pm.

Before he was assaulted, one of hour young men said to him: "You're a student - the bus stop is that way," in a manner to suggest they should get out of the town.

Ken Rogers, a Wivenhoe town councillor, said such incidents were a rare occurrence in the town and called for the attackers to give themselves up.

He said: "I am very concerned about what happened to them and it does appear that because they were students they were picked on and it was quite traumatic.

"This creates a climate of fear for the students and Wivenhoe has strong ties with the university and we want to set the example that we welcome people whatever colour, race or creed they are."

Anyone with information about the attack should call Colchester police on 01206 762212.

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