ONE of two men who were assaulted in a “horrific” attack in the early hours of New Year’s Day is urging people to be more vigilant when out in Lymington at night.
The 20-year-old and his friend (19), neither of whom wished to be identified, were set upon from behind and repeatedly punched in the face and head by two other men as they returned from celebrating the New Year at the Six Bells pub in St Thomas Street.
Both are believed to have been knocked unconscious for a short time and suffered cuts and bruises, with the 19-year-old also suffering a broken tooth.
The incident took place around 1.30am as the pair reached the alleyway behind St Thomas Church, having walked through the churchyard.
After apparently being knocked out, the 20-year-old came round to see the assailants raining blows on his friend as he lay on the ground.
He hit them with his trouser belt in a bid to stop the offenders punching his friend before getting out his mobile phone and calling the police, at which point they fled the scene.
The victims made their way to the 19-year-old’s home, where they had both been due to stay that night. They were then taken to the accident and emergency unit at Southampton General Hospital by the 19-year-old’s mother, who is a nurse.
Assessments, including X-rays, were carried out amid concerns about the pair having lost consciousness during the attack. However, apart from the broken tooth, they had not sustained more significant injuries than cuts, bruises and swelling.
Speaking to the A&T on Wednesday from his home, where he had been recovering, the 20-year-old victim told how he believed the most important thing was that people were aware that such a thing could happen in Lymington.
“This was an unprovoked attack, and we want people to be a bit more aware that there are people like that about, even in quite a quiet town,” he said.
“It’s just bizarre. You don’t expect anything like that to happen in Lymington.
“Our injuries are quite minor, but it’s more the fact that this was an unprovoked attack. If either of us were alone it could have been an awful lot worse.
“Luckily, we were out together and it wasn’t just one person out on their own.”
His parents were alerted to the incident when his friend’s mother rang them about an hour after it happened.
Speaking of their shock, the mother said: “This was an absolutely horrific and appalling attack which was totally unprovoked. Neither of them would ever get involved in anything like that.
“You don’t really expect that to happen to your own children in a location where you usually expect to feel very safe.”
She also believed it was very important for people to be made aware of the incident as the attackers could have targeted anyone, including younger teenagers.
“Also, someone else might have had a child who came home injured that night,” she continued. “This may have just been one of a number of attacks that night.”
The 20-year-old’s father said both victims had been left very shaken up by their ordeal.
“They didn’t have knives or anything. It was just thumping, thank goodness.”
He added: “It wasn’t a mugging as they didn’t try to steal anything. There was no verbal interaction at all.”
A number of local residents took to social media to express their disgust at the attack, while also bemoaning the current situation in Lymington with recent spates of assaults and vandalism.
One Facebook user wrote: “My home town is no longer the lovely safe place it used to be. It’s disgraceful.”
Another posted: “I’m so sorry to hear this! Lymington used to be such a lovely town.
“There’s lots of CCTV now so hopefully something will have been caught on there.”
Police investigating the attack are urging potential witnesses to come forward.
Anyone with information should contact officers at Hampshire on 101, quoting crime reference number 44190000593, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.