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The face of violence today

A DISTRAUGHT family has put up a £500 reward to catch thugs who kicked and stamped on the head of a Widnes man in an unprovoked attack as he returned home from a night on the town.

HORROR ATTACK - Gareth Roberts

A DISTRAUGHT family has put up a £500 reward to catch thugs who kicked and stamped on the head of a Widnes man in an unprovoked attack as he returned home from a night on the town.

Jeff and Sheila Roberts were left reeling with shock after their 19-year-old son Gareth, a trainee engineer, turned up at their Crow Wood Lane home at 3am on Saturday after having been beaten senseless and left with horrific head and facial injuries, including a ripped ear.

Now, the Roberts have turned detective to help police trace witnesses who could shed some light on the events leading up to the terrifying attack, which left Gareth with barely any recollection of what happened.

After contacting various pubs and homes, his sister Sarah Roberts, 28, a social worker, has managed to piece together the route Gareth followed before he was set upon by persons unknown.

Gareth left Club Essential when it closed at 2am, left his friend outside the club and headed off to buy a pizza from Aladdin's. He walked past the Hub wine bar, the Cornerhouse pub, Central Tyres and Kwik Save before finally turning into Frederick Street, where the attack took place.

One witnesss told Sarah of an alleged incident in which Gareth and another man were involved in argument in the street. The man allegedly punched Gareth in the head and the witness claimed to have seen him jumping up and down on Gareth's head while shouting abuse at him.

The witness said the attacker had been wearing dark clothing and 'was dressed as if he had been out for the night'.

Sarah said: 'Gareth was aware that he was being followed. He kept crossing the road, but he didn't quicken his pace. Then someone came up behind him and smashed him on the head.

'One witness saw him walking with a male but Gareth didn't remember being with anyone. Another witness saw him at the Cornerhouse on his own.

'Witnesses said that a gang of lads who were outside the business forum appear to have followed him.

'One said that when he was outside Central Tyres there was gang of lads rolling tyres across the road and they rolled them at Gareth, too.

'He said he looked back and carried on walking. He turned up at my mum's at 3am but he doesn't know how he got there.

'Me and my dad have been checking people's homes and pubs in the area to see if anyone will come forward with information.'

She added: 'This was a merciless attack and this person seemed determined to cause him severe injuries.

'The hospital took X-rays of his head and body but because the swelling is so horrendous, they still don't know the extent of his head injuries. His ear was also ripped in the attack and it had to be glued back in place.

'Gareth is devastated and still in shock. My family is also absolutely devastated. My mum and dad have been by his side 24 hours a day.

'We are offering a £500 reward for whoever can lead the police to the attacker. This was an unprovoked assault and Gareth doesn't remember having any kind of argument with anyone in the past.

'In particular we want to trace the group of youths as they may have seen something.'

A police spokesman confirmed that the incident had been reported to them at 4am on Saturday and urged witnesses to contact the officer on the case, PC Ian Warren, at Widnes police station 0151 424 7431.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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