Published: 12:51, 15 November 2012 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
by Tim Collins
A promising young footballer who suffered horrific injuries in an attack on the pitch was at first told it was not a police matter.
Daniel Churchley, 20, was playing for Ashford Cavaliers FC when he was punched in the face several times.
The centre forward, pictured left, was taken to the William Harvey Hospital where 15 stitches were put in wounds to his cheek and is now off work recovering.
Police called to the scene indicated any action would have to be taken by the Football Association as the incident happened on the pitch on Sunday.
But Kent Police have since taken a lengthy statement from Mr Churchley and say they will be interviewing other players and the referee before consulting the Crown Prosecution Service on what course of action to take.
Mr Churchley, of Cradlebridge Drive, Willesborough, said: "All I can remember is the first punch and then coming round on the floor.
"Blood was pouring out of my mouth and nose and I was really confused.
"People were asking me what day it was and what month but I could only just about remember my name.
"people were asking me what day it was and what month but i could only just about remember my name..." – daniel churchley
"Everyone gets annoyed during matches, but his behaviour was totally out of line."
Such was the force of one punch, witnesses claim to have heard the attack at the opposite end of the pitch at the team's home ground at the Goldwyn School, near Great Chart.
Police were called following the assault, which is thought to have been witnessed by about 35 people.
But Mr Churchley said he was told by an officer that, as the incident happened on the pitch, it was a matter for the Football Association - not Kent Police.
He added: "The officer I spoke to basically told me that he didn't want to bore me with the legal stuff, but because it happened on the pitch, they can't do anything about it.
"By that thinking, you could kill someone during a game and nothing would be done about it.
"I think that's crazy, and everyone I've spoken says that it can't be right."
Kent Police confirmed their officer advised Mr Churchley they would not be pursuing the matter, but this decision appears to have now been reversed.
The spokesman added: "When the assault was reported, officers attended the game and spoke to the players and the match officials.
"It was decided at the time that this was a sporting incident and as such would be referred to the governing body, the Football Association.
"That decision has since been reviewed and the assault is being investigated by Kent Police.
"The injured player has given a statement and photographs and a forensic investigation will be done.
"Match officials and witnesses will be spoken to and detectives will consult with the Crown Prosecution Service about the appropriate course of action to take."
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