Carer allegedly attacked in Worthing on Easter Sunday after defending boy, court hears

A caregiver was beaten nearly to death in a popular park after confronting three youths who pushed an 11-year-old boy to the ground, a court heard.

Alan Willson, 46, was allegedly beaten in the head, face, chest and spine by youths with tree branches in Worthing, West Sussex, on Easter Sunday last April.

The court heard how the caregiver intervened after the boy was allegedly assaulted while playing Frisbee with his friends.

Mr Willson is said to have suffered ‘catastrophic’ injuries to his head, face in the ‘vicious’ attack after the youngsters left their victim lying in a pool of his own blood in the park.

They were reportedly caught on CCTV laughing and bragging about the attack as they repeatedly re-enacted the horrific assault.

Harry Furlong, 18, and two boys, 15 and 14, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are charged with intentionally causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) and appeared in court today.

Alan Willson (right), 46, stepped in after the boy was allegedly attacked while playing Frisbee with his friends.

The incident happened at Longcroft Park in Durrington, Worthing around 7.30pm on Eastern Sunday, April 4 last year.  Pictured: The police cordon in the park last year

The incident happened at Longcroft Park in Durrington, Worthing around 7.30pm on Eastern Sunday, April 4 last year. Pictured: The police cordon in the park last year

Gemma White, prosecuting, said the 11-year-old boy was playing with his friends when he was approached by a group of young people at Longcroft Park in Durrington at around 7.30pm on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.

She then went on to say that an argument ensued over the Frisbee and the boy was pushed to the ground by one of the group members.

Alerted to the crash, Mr. Willson would have armed himself with a large stick and would have gone to challenge the three teenagers.

But Lewes Crown Court in Hove heard he was attacked by the youths and then grabbed by a 15-year-old from behind.

He was then allegedly brutally beaten with sticks by the other two teenagers, aged 13 and 17 at the time.

The court heard that Mr Willson was beaten in the head, face and back and suffered horrific injuries in the attack.

Roland Hodges, a dog walker, told police he heard the attack which ‘sounded like someone getting beat up or someone getting hurt’

But when the screaming and noise escalated, he said ‘it sounded like someone being murdered’.

When Mr Willson’s wife, Annie, reached him, he was lying on the ground on his right side near a path.

Gemma White, prosecuting, said the 11-year-old boy was playing with his friends when he was approached by a group of youngsters.  Pictured: Police patrolling the park last year

Gemma White, prosecuting, said the 11-year-old boy was playing with his friends when he was approached by a group of youngsters. Pictured: Police patrolling the park last year

Ms White said: ‘She could see he was clearly bleeding profusely from his head, blood everywhere including his left ear, so thick it looked more like jam.

“Alan Willson was gasping and Annie Willson realized his injuries were serious and thought he must have a fractured skull.”

He was treated by paramedics at the scene before being transferred to Royal Sussex General Hospital in Brighton.

Scans showed that Mr. Willson had suffered multiple fractures to his face, skull, ribs, as well as brain injuries.

He spent three months in hospital before returning home where he is unable to walk or speak and is now cared for by his wife.

Ms Willson told the court: ‘Alan has recovered as much as he will. He will never speak again, he had no mental capacity although it fluctuates. He is incontinent but not always.

“He’s the most frustrated person I’ve ever seen because on days when he has mental capacity he knows what he wants to say but can’t say it.”

Ms White said: ‘Annie was told her husband’s injuries were catastrophic and medical staff did not expect him to survive his injuries.

The jury was told that the three youngsters had left the park, then parted ways before reuniting at Goring station.

There they reportedly passed four teenage girls and began to ‘bragging’ and ‘joking’ about their attack on the carer.

The jury saw CCTV footage of the three youths who allegedly re-enacted the brutal attack on the social worker at a train station in front of four teenage girls.

A girl told police the youngsters said an older man attacked them with logs and they appeared to have fought.

The court heard how the caregiver intervened after the boy was allegedly assaulted while playing Frisbee with his friends.  Pictured: Police in the park then

The court heard how the caregiver intervened after the boy was allegedly assaulted while playing Frisbee with his friends. Pictured: Police in the park then

Another girl told police the boys appeared to be ‘bragging’ about the attack, demonstrating how they had beaten their victim and how he pleaded: ‘Oh please stop please. “

She said she and her friends thought they were trying to impress the girls by pretending to be in a fight.

Another girl said: “They were bragging and laughing and laughing and making fun. Throwing punches saying, “Please stop.”

A third girl described how the boys started talking about how ‘the helicopters are after us’ and ‘sort of bragging about having the police after them’.

Ms White told the court: ‘They thought they were trying to impress the girls [by] just say things.

‘[They were] kind of bragging about the fact that they had these policemen after them”.

She said a youngster said: ‘Oh if they show up here you’ll be our alibis and we’ll tell the police we were with you on an Easter egg hunt’.

The court heard the three youngsters claimed that Mr Willson was the attacker and that they had acted in self-defence.

They will also claim that Mr Willson swung the yard-long stick at them before disarming it and fighting back, the court heard.

Ms White said: ‘This was a vicious assault, involving the three defendants acting together in a common enterprise. It was made with a pack mentality.

The trial continues.

Alicia R. Rucker