A WOMAN has spoken of her horror after watching her husband get knocked unconscious following an altercation between a group of youths.
Karen Grimstone watched in shock as youths surrounded him ‘like a pack’ before one of them punched him in the head causing him to fall unconscious outside their business in Bishop Auckland.
She said if it wasn’t for a wall breaking his fall, the 56-year-old would have hit his head, and the outcome may have been much worse.
The town’s MP Dehenna Davison recently launched a campaign fighting for a fairer sense of justice for one-punch assault victims and their families in memory of her dad who died 14 years ago.
Last night, she said: “I’m appalled to hear about this incident. There is no place for violence in our community.
“I know first-hand the devastation that can come from just a single punch, and I sincerely hope the victim makes a full and speedy recovery and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
The incident happened outside of the couple’s business, Holdforth Mot and Auto Centre, on Wednesday, at about 6.20pm, after Mrs Grimstone received a call that about six or seven youths were setting fire to dry grass on nearby gardens, pulling at signs and chucking stones at their garage.
Mrs Grimstone’s husband arrived at the scene first, as she had started cooking tea and had to turn the oven off.
She said: “As I got there, they were already around my husband, and he had grabbed one of them to pull him off the forecourt, which police had said he was perfectly within his right to do.
“Then they started to surround him like a pack, and the language they were using was disgraceful- they were threatening and verbally abusive.
“Just as I was pulling up and getting out of the car, one of the youths hit him clean on the side of his head, knocked him out, and he fell unconscious across the wall.
“I think he’s damaged his ribs and his back because he’s in a lot of pain, and if it wasn’t for the wall saving him, his head would’ve hit the floor.
“Luckily, I had turned up and neighbours came over to help, as well as a man from the gardens nearby who helped my husband get back onto his feet.
“I was angry and concerned about what had happened- I tried to chase them to get a look at their faces, but they just put their hoods up.”
Police gave the following statement: “Shortly before 6.30pm on Wednesday, March 24, police were called to a reported assault at Holdforth Crest, in Bishop Auckland.
“A man in his mid-50s was involved in an altercation with a group of teenagers near a local garage.
“During the incident, one of the youths present, a male thought to be aged approximately 15 years, punched the victim in his face, knocking him to the ground and leaving him briefly unconscious, with swelling to his face.
“The suspects then left the area on foot in the direction of Craddock Street.”
Temporary Inspector Peter Lonsdale, of Durham Police, said: “If anyone witnessed this attack or has any dashcam footage of it, please get in touch with the Neighbourhood Police team at Bishop Auckland Police Station.
“We believe this incident to be linked to incidents of anti-social behaviour nearby and have progressed the investigation quickly to identify the suspects responsible.
“The NPT team are continuing to tackle the local anti-social behaviour issues in the area and working with partners in order to do so, some youths and their parents have been spoken to with regards to ASB and Covid fines have been issued, however the assault investigation is being investigated separately and as a priority.”
Mrs Grimstone said: “They are vandalising the place, intimidating people, and they are just an absolute bloody menace.
“I put it on Facebook, not for sympathy, but to make people aware how bad it’s actually getting now with them. Who else has suffered because of them and not said anything?
“We’re running a business and we can’t afford any repercussions to happen to customers’ cars or the building.
“But if none of us speak out, nothing’s ever going to get done is it?
“I think everyone in the town is absolutely fed up, and a lot of people don’t want to say anything because of repercussions, which I can understand.
“Something needs to be done to channel them down the right path, and give them something to do, some purpose- but it all starts at home.
“Don’t be frightened to speak up, because these things will never get sorted out if people don’t speak up.”
To give information call Durham Constabulary on 101 and quote incident number 0392 of March 24.