I went on a night out at a local club. As the evening drew to a close, there was a commotion in the street. A fight broke out between three men, two against one, and the crowd bayed for blood. It didn’t last long as the poor sod was punched to the ground and received a flurry of kicks to the head. As his face was smashed against the pavement, I pushed my way through everyone and stood between the man on the ground and the other two with my arms outstretched.
The bloke was bleeding all over the place as he was helped up. His attackers stared at me with hate in their eyes. The crowd began to disperse. My good deed for the day done, it was time to leave. Saying my goodbyes, I headed off. It was late as I walked home. I turned a bend in the road and saw two rough-looking sorts sitting on a low wall outside a house bordering the left-hand side. I didn’t make eye contact and walked past, thinking it was a bit odd for them to be hanging around after 2 a.m. Out of nowhere, there was a massive WHACK on the back of my head.
I sprawled on the pavement, face down, stunned. A kick thudded into my body, then more from another direction. The pain intensified with each one. I took a blow to the face and my mouth tasted metallic. I rolled over and scrambled unsteadily to my feet. I was confronted by the same two yobs who dished out the beating earlier. Blood flowed into an eye and my vision was blurred, but one was about six feet tall, had short dark hair, bull-necked and tattoos on his arms. Behind him, the other was smaller and ferret-like.
“Why did you stop that fucking fight?” The bigger of the two growled.
He hit me in the face several times and I was punched over the low wall. Lying in a front garden, adrenaline pumping, I leapt up and back at them. But I received more big punches to the head and was overpowered. I fell awkwardly over the wall this time with my legs still on the pavement and my face in the front garden.
I felt someone rifling through my trouser pockets, taking the loose change. I pushed him away, got back to my feet and faced them again. I raised my fists. They looked at the state of me, then at each other and ran. My shirt was spattered with blood. I wiped my face and the sleeve smeared red. Looking down, I began to run and drips sprinkled on the pavement. I approached a man walking his dog and asked if he’d seen two lads run that way. He stared with shock, speechless. I sped off in pursuit, but slowed to a walk as a raging headache took hold.
My parents and younger brother Sam were away that weekend, but big brother Marky would be asleep upstairs. I wasn’t feeling so good as I staggered from side to side along the pavement. Falling to the ground, I felt a blackness taking me. But I wouldn’t allow myself even a private moment of weakness. I forced my knees upwards and coughed up blood. Unsteadily, I pushed up to my feet. I needed to get home. I don’t remember the rest of the walk. Once through the door, I crawled upstairs to get help. But, as soon I got to my room, I was so tired.
I woke early next morning, but couldn’t move my head or body. The curtains were open and morning light broke through the window. I listened to the sound of my breathing. The toilet flushed. Marky was up. I had to get his attention and thumped the wall with the side of my right fist. Blood smeared on the wall. He sleepily entered the room, stopped and stared.
“What the fuck happened to you??!”
“Please… just get me to hospital.”
He tried to help me up, but I was stuck to the sheets with dried blood. He tore me out of the bed and I was bundled into his car. I held a towel to my face to stem the blood flow and drifted away. I woke up in hospital and spent the day there. Nurses cleaned the mess and monitored me. There was nothing seriously wrong. Just bruising to my body, swelling to my head, with cuts and abrasions to my face. I was discharged by early evening and went straight to the police station. After a brief wait, I was led by a policeman into a small, grey room with a desk and chairs. I sat down and gave a full statement, but didn’t know who my attackers were. Afterwards, the police officer took photos of the damage for evidence. He told me that, if I had reported the crime earlier, there would have been a better chance of arrests. I felt deflated. All in all, not the best of days.
The attack happened only a few hundred metres away from my parents’ house. I told a few friends that I wanted the people who did this. A few days later, someone I knew slipped a piece of paper in my back pocket. He said “This never came from me.” It had two names and addresses on it. I went to the police and handed the information over. All I got in return was “You have pre-empted our enquiries, Sir.” Arrests followed, they confessed and were put on remand.
Eventually, they went to court, pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and received sentences of two and a half years in prison each. I found out about this from the local newspaper, which reported: “A teenage thug boasted that he enjoyed taking part in a vicious street mugging… he told police it felt quite exciting… the court heard that Mr Stanford suffered a black eye, cuts to his head and bruises from being punched and kicked.”