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Fisherman Dave Lawrence attacked by gang of youths in Deal

By Eleanor Perkins

A fisherman who claims he was "left for dead" by a group of youths who attacked him with a wooden plank has joined police in an appeal to identify the culprits.

Dave Lawrence, 63, has earned his living as a full-time fisherman in Deal for 50 years.

At about 8pm on Monday, July 24, he was alerted to the fact that four youths had boarded his boat on the beach near to Prince of Wales Terrace and he investigated it himself.

Fisherman Dave Lawrence says he was left for dead

Fisherman Dave Lawrence says he was left for dead

When he asked them to get off his boat, he claims he was attacked using a wooden plank and knocked unconscious.

The culprits ran off leaving the dad-of-two with a fractured eye socket, cheek bone and jaw which now requires corrective surgery.

Mr Lawrence said: “I just went up there to get the youths out of the boat and they attacked me.

“They left me for dead and ran off.

“When a lady was trying to bring me round, it hurt so much I just wanted to go back to sleep.”

He has described the youths as three boys and one girl, aged 16 or 17.

Police have now issued CCTV images of people they’d like to speak to.

Mr Lawrence had to wait one hour and 20 minutes for an ambulance to attend, something which the emergency service has said was because the incident was not categorised as life-threatening during the call.

One of the suspects caught on CCTV

One of the suspects caught on CCTV

A female passer-by stopped to help Mr Lawrence, sitting with him until more help arrived.

Friend Colin Spicer, who saw the aftermath, said: “There was no medical back up whatsoever.

“He lay there for more than an hour, with the rain coming down and the wind. I thought he was a goner.

“A lady sat with him the whole time. It was her that kept him going.

“It started to get dark and nobody arrived.”

In a letter to the East Kent Mercury’s editor, Mr Spicer added: “I am not faulting the expertise of the emergency services, but something is seriously going wrong.

“Dave did not deserve the experience of the assault nor the wait for help and I can only say as I watched and waited.

"Thank you so much to those passing who sat and endured the condition because of the need to keep Dave going.

Police are appealing for information from the public

Police are appealing for information from the public

“It was not that long ago when Deal had an eight minute response with a maximum of 20 minutes in extreme conditions and further more when one emergency vehicle moved off patch, another moved to the area boundary.

“Dave, nor Deal, deserves this service.

“And someone knows who committed this crime.”

A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) spokesman said: “We take any concerns raised seriously and are sorry that it took us longer than it should for us to attend this call.

"Based on the information provided, the call was not categorised as life-threatening but as requiring a response within 30 minutes.

"An ambulance crew attended the scene approximately one hour and 20 minutes after the call.

“We have a duty to prioritise immediately life-threatening calls.

"We are working hard to improve all response times across our region but there are times when demand for our services as well as delays handing patients over at hospital means we are unable to reach some patients as quickly as we would like.

“We of course wish the patient a good recovery and would invite anyone with concerns to also contact us in order for us to feed back to them directly.”

SECAmb says it is working hard to improve response times

SECAmb says it is working hard to improve response times

Theses CCTV images have been released by police whose officers are investigating a reported assault.

It is alleged that around 7.50pm on July 24, a man in his 60s was assaulted by a group of people on the beach near to Prince of Wales Terrace.

Officers arrived at the scene 20 minutes after the incident was reported to the police and a specialist trained medic from Kent Police was also sent to the location to assist with injuries until paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service arrived.

Police would like to speak to the youths to help them with their enquiries.

Officers are now appealing for the people in these images, or anyone who knows who they may be, to come forward. Currently no arrests have been made.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Daniel Mead, said: “We have been carrying out a number of enquiries including gathering witness statements, reviewing CCTV and looking into forensic opportunities.

“Although I have already been in contact with the victim to reassure him of the investigation I would like to take this opportunity to provide him with further reassurance that every effort is being made to identify the suspects.

"This investigation is important to us and all lines of enquiry are being made. I will continue to ensure the victim is updated as this case develops.

“In the meantime we would like to hear from any anyone who has information that could assist our enquiries, who has not already been in contact."

Anyone with information is urged to call 01843 222289 quoting reference ZY/33907/17. Alternatively contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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