An injured pensioner has spoken of the horrific moment a group of hooded thugs beat him with his own walking stick and killed his beloved pet dog.
Johnny Chappell was walking his Yorkshire Terrier, George, when they were set upon by a group of hooded figures who had been hiding in bushes.
Speaking from his hospital bed, the grieving 68-year-old said: “George was my best friend. He kept me company, it was us against the world.”
Johnny was heading back to his home on Fox Hill Crescent, Fox Hill, when he noticed he was being watched from nearby bushes.
The dad-of-one, who lives alone, said he kept on walking with 11-year-old George and tried to make his way to his block of flats as quickly as he could.
But as he tried to get through the main entrance, the door got stuck on a bag he was carrying that contained an extra duvet he had borrowed as he was worried about getting cold overnight.
“When the door got stuck I knew that was it – they were going to get me,” Johnny told The Star.
“The next thing I knew one of them had hit me round the head with a brick.
“Then they had me on the floor and were going at my legs. I don’t know if they had baseball bats or what but they were going at them hard.
“One of them took my walking stick out of my hand and started hitting me on the legs with it.
“I didn’t know what they were going to do to me.”
Due to being disorientated from the blow to the head, Mr Chappell says he does not know how long the attack lasted but the next thing he remembers is being inside the flat block and trying to make his way upstairs.
“I’m not sure if I called 999 or if my partner Elaine did because she also lives upstairs and says she heard the commotion from outside,” he said.
“The next thing I know, I’m in the bedroom and the paramedics are there.
“The first thing I asked them was, ‘Where’s George?’
“They went to have a look – at first they said they hadn’t found him - but I knew. I knew what they’d done. I said, ‘He’s dead, isn’t he?’
“They said yeah, but because it was a crime scene they wouldn’t let me see him, they wouldn’t let me say goodbye to him.
“There’s never been a dog like him, he was so different.
“I can’t believe he’s gone. I was in a shock for three days after this has happened.”
Johnny has been left with extensive injuries including a broken cheekbone. He remains in hospital more than a week after the attack, which occurred at about 10pm on February 10.
Officers are appealing for information from anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who might have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time.
Call 101, quoting incident number 1211 of February 10.
Alternatively, you can email information to email@example.com or give details to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.