Assault victim speaks of horror attack

PUBLISHED: 18:30 12 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

BATTERED David Cartwright told today how he was beaten black and blue by a gang of thugs in Ipswich who used a traffic barrier to repeatedly hit him in the head and back.

BATTERED David Cartwright told today how he was beaten black and blue by a gang of thugs in Ipswich who used a traffic barrier to repeatedly hit him in the head and back.

The 22-year-old, who had been walking home after a night out with friends, sustained terrible bruising to his face and body during the 15 minute ordeal.

News of the vicious attack comes as Home Secretary David Blunkett unveiled plans to smash street gangs with high profile police "strikes" in the wake of a sharp increase in violent crime across Britain in recent weeks.

Tougher sentences for mobile phone theft and hijacking car were needed to stamp out "outbreaks" of violent street crime, particularly in the south London area, he said.

Fast food worker, Mr Cartwright, of Sirdar Road, Ipswich, has seven stitches deep in his hairline and his right arm, which he used to defend himself against the volley of blows.

He told The Evening Star: "There were two blokes and two girls. The girls were shouting leave him alone, he's bleeding, take his money.

"There was one person behind me and hitting my back with the barrier and there was another in front trying to hit me.

"I was using my arm to defend myself. I think I fell over or was pushed about three times. At one point they had a traffic cone too.

"My face was all red, just covered in blood and there was blood on my jacket."

The former Thurleston High School pupil was walking home along Portman Road around 2am last Tuesday, March 5, when he came face to face with the gang.

One of the youths asked him for the time but Mr Cartwright says that when he turned round to reply the mood turned threatening.

"Maybe they thought I was being aggressive because of the way I turned round. It's a bit vague but the next thing I knew I was being pushed around.

"I wasn't particularly scared. I remember being punched in the face and the guy grabbing the barrier. I was pumped up with adrenaline. Every time I fell over or they pushed me I got back up again."

Bloodied Mr Cartwright was able to stumble home but when he looked in the mirror he knew he needed urgent medical treatment.

He was kept in Ipswich Hospital overnight and has so far been unable to return to his job at the town's Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant because he can't move his arm.

Speaking at a prison service conference in Nottingham last month Mr Blunkett said that the focus on violent street crime was affecting the psyche of the nation.

Tougher sentences in harsher conditions were needed to "stamp out these outbreaks" he said.

Other plans to tackle street crime included electronically tagging teenagers who face serious criminal charges as a way of tracking their movements while they await trial.

Nothing was stolen from Mr Cartwright and reason for the brutal assault remains a mystery.

"I feel angry. I have never seen them before in my life. I can't even give a good description of them.

"I wasn't stumbling home drunk or anything. I was perfectly capable of walking home," said Mr Cartwright, adding that he had drunk about four pints and a few shorts during the night.

Investigating officer Pc Andrew Wright said: "This appears to be a totally unprovoked attack on an innocent victim. We're appealing for any witnesses who may have seen this assault to come forward."

Police have issued a description of the four-strong gang who attacked Mr Cartwright.

One of the group is described as a white male, aged 18 to 20, of average build and wearing a light coloured T-shirt.

He was with a white male and two white females, one of who had short dark brown bobbed hair. These three were also aged between 18 to 20 years old.

Anyone who was in the area at the time and may have witnessed the incident or who may recognise the offenders from the descriptions is asked to call Pc Andrew Wright at Ipswich police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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