Published: 06:00, 23 September 2021
| Updated: 15:22, 23 September 2021
A gang of up to 12 teenagers launched a vicious and unprovoked attack on three men in a park.
The victims were set upon as they walked through Dane John Gardens in Canterbury at about 2.30am on Sunday after a night out.
Now, one of them has spoken of the frightening and painful ordeal, in which he was kicked unconscious on the ground.
Two of his friends were also hurt, suffering serious cuts and bruises, as they tried to protect him.
Tom, 24, a digital marketeer, explained how he was lagging behind his pals when he saw the gang staring at him in the gardens.
“I then heard footsteps running behind me and turned round to see I was being chased,” he said.
“I saw a punch coming but couldn’t avoid it and just hit the deck. I curled up in a ball to protect myself as much as possible but was being repeatedly kicked in the head for about a minute and lost consciousness at one point.”
Tom, who lives in the city and did not want to give his surname for fear of reprisals, says his friends came back to his aid to try and persuade the group to stop.
“They didn’t want to fight [the gang] but found themselves being attacked too, and were punched and kicked,” he said.
Tom says a group of university freshers came to their aid after the gang, who were aged between 15 and 16, dispersed.
“It was their first night out in the city, so lord knows what impression that left,” he said.
The battered and bruised friends took a taxi to hospital and later reported the attack to police.
“I think it has affected us all as much psychologically as physically,” Tom said.
“We are just grateful that there were no weapons used, like knives.”
“But frankly, none of us feel like going out at night again any time soon.”
The attack is the latest in a series of unsavoury incidents in the Dane John Gardens, which has prompted the city council to launch a public consultation into closing it at night.
It is currently locking five gates between 10pm and 4am in a trial which runs until December 19. But crucially the main entrance to the gardens off Castle Row cannot be shut, to allow access for residents.
Witnesses to Sunday’s attack should call police on 01843 222289.