Home   Deal   News   Article

Mum's appeal after son attacked and bowler hat stolen in Deal

The mother of an autistic man who was the victim of an assault has condemned the "disgusting" culprits.

Annette Fretwell, of Owen Square, Deal, says the three-against-one attack in South Street has left 28-year-old Matthew Taylor angry and depressed.

He was also upset because the men took his bowler hat which was part of a collection of headgear that was important to him.

Scroll down for video

Matthew Taylor, 28, and mum Annette Fretwell want justice
Matthew Taylor, 28, and mum Annette Fretwell want justice

Since the incident, which happened on New Year’s Day, Mr Taylor, who has learning difficulties, has been experiencing blurred vision in one eye and struggling to sleep at night.

Mrs Fretwell is appealing for witnesses to come forward or better still, the culprits to hand themselves in.

She said: “I’m angry and upset and worried for my son’s eye.

“I think it’s disgusting that people could do this to him.

“He rang me up on the phone to tell me what had happened and he was really breaking down, feeling suicidal.

“He’s not sleeping. He’s really ratty and it’s just more pressure on me to keep an eye on him.

“All we want is for the people who have done this to hand themselves in and if anyone witnessed it to come forward.”

She added: “Matthew is very clingy towards his hats and very protective of them.

"They’re his life and part of his world. With the autism, he clings to certain things and all he wants is for it to be returned.”

The incident happened between 3am and 4am on Monday, January 1, when Mr Taylor was walking with a friend from South Street into the High Street towards Broad Street.

They had been seeing in the New Year in the Walmer Castle pub.

Mr Taylor, of Golf Road, described himself as tipsy on the night. He recalls seeing the three men, in their 20s, while in the pub. He asked them for a cigarette and was given one.

It was about two hours later that he says they set on him in the street.

"I'm angry and upset and worried for my son's eye... I think it's disgusting that people could do this to him" - Annette Fretwell

One suspect is described as 6ft and of slim build. He had dark hair and was wearing a white shirt and dark trousers.

Mr Taylor is unable to recall what the others looked like but thinks he would recognise them if he saw them again.

He said: “All I can remember is them being abusive and all of a sudden they started throwing punches.

“All three of them starting kicking me but I got back up. It was unfair, three on one. I wasn’t able to defend myself.

“My mate said to them, ‘he’s got disabilities’ and to ‘leave off’.

“After the last punch they stole my hat which was on the floor and walked off with it towards Nationwide.”

Due to his disabilities, Mr Taylor struggles to cope with daily chores and receives help from a carer three times a week.

Talking about his hat, he said: “I’ve got a small collection and I’m trying to collect more.

“The black one was part of my collection. I’d had it for a while. One of my friends gave it to me. It was a black Michael Jackson style one. I really want it back.”

After the assault Mr Taylor visited minor injuries at Deal Hospital but was transferred to A&E at Ashford Hospital. He has also had to see a consultant about his eye.

He said: “They’ve damaged the vision in my eye. I’ve got a grey film over it.

“I’m really angry and annoyed. I’ve not been sleeping. I just want something done.”

Matthew Taylor has a mental age much younger than his 28 years and was diagnosed with autism when he was 11.

The Golf Road resident admits he has been involved in fights in years gone by but says this altercation was unprovoked.

“I know I’ve got a violent past but that night I didn’t do anything wrong.”

To add to his woes, he is also being evicted from his flat in February and desperately looking for a new home.

He is appealing for a suitable landlord who would accept him and his cat.

To discuss this, contact the Mercury office on 01304 365526 or email eperkins@thekmgroup.co.uk

Officers are appealing for witnesses or anyone with any knowledge of the incident to call them on 01843 222289, quoting ZY/0095/18, or the Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More