A young football fan with learning difficulties was slashed with a knife and repeatedly kicked as he lay on the ground in a ‘savage’ attack in Bury.
The 20-year-old, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and autism, had travelled with his dad and other Carlisle fans to watch his team play Bury FC at Gigg Lane on Saturday January 24.
Police officers were called to the Conservative Club, on Back Brierley Street – before kick-off – after the man was attacked by a ‘thug’ as he attempted to ‘play peacemaker’ following violence between fans.
A 56-year-old man from the Bury area was arrested but later bailed.
Detective Constable Phil Slater said: “For all the wrong reasons, this young man will never forget his trip to Bury. What should have been an enjoyable afternoon ended in him being attacked with a knife by a hooligan.
“I will not use the phrase ‘football fan’ as the man responsible for this heinous attack is not a football fan, just a thug, and he gives genuine football fans a bad name.
“Such was the ferocity of this beating that he curled himself up into a ball while on the ground and thought he would be beaten to death.
The away supporters’ coach arrived from Carlisle arrived at about midday and fans, including the victim, went to the Staff of Life pub for a drink.
A short time later, some of the fans who had left to get a takeaway returned to the pub and one had a cut under his eye. He explained he had been attacked with a beer bottle when confronted by some Bury FC fans.
The 20-year-old, whose natural instinct is to abhor violence and seek a peaceful solution, then offered to go and meet with the Bury fans to calm the situation down so they could all enjoy the match.
He left the pub with a few other Carlisle fans and headed to the Conservative Club and as he made his way to the bowling and garden area of the club, he saw the offender and raised his hands in a defensive manner and saying ‘I don’t want any trouble.’
The victim then put his hand out in a gesture to shake hands, but this merely prompted the offender to rush forward and slash the victim across his hand with a knife.
He collapsed due to the pain, and as he lay defenseless on the floor the offender continued his horrific assault, kicking him repeatedly. Eventually the young man managed to get back to feet and ran off.
“This young man was genuinely frightened when he saw another fan had been attacked with a bottle and was attempting to play peacemaker,” Detective Constable Slater said.
“Because of his Asperger’s Syndrome and autism he naturally seeks to resolve any situation without fully realising any danger to himself but no-one could have anticipated the violence he would be subjected to.
“Luckily he was able to escape and when officers arrived seconds later a man was arrested.
Officers are now appealing to anyone who has information to come forward.
Detective Constable Slater added: “I would urge genuine Bury FC fans who witnessed this assault to do the right thing.
“We have a young man who travelled from another city to Bury and ended up being brutally assaulted. Please search your conscience and come forward with any information you have.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.