Family of an Exeter assault victim say he will have to drink Christmas dinner ‘through a straw’ after his jaw was broken in an unprovoked attack.
The man and a friend, both aged in their 20s, were punched in the face by a stranger while walking home following a night out enjoying festive drinks in the city.
Police are appealing for witnesses of the ‘hideous’ violence which happened at the Guildhall Shopping Centre between midnight and 12.30am on Sunday, December 19.
And loved-ones of the seriously-injured man have joined detectives in urging anyone with information to come forward.
They said in a statement released through the force today: “We are desperately appealing for information regarding an assault on our cherished family member.
“Our peaceful and kind son, brother, uncle and grandson was violently attacked, along with his friend, in the Guildhall area of central Exeter.
“Our boy was punched with such force that his jaw was broken in two places.
“There is no backstory here, just two young friends going out for a festive Christmas drink and then being subjected to a senseless attack for no reason while walking home.
“Both boys are law abiding citizens who have never been involved in any violence in society and are certainly not troublemakers in any way.
“This mindless attack has caused extreme shock and distress to the victims and their families.
“It is every parent’s nightmare to wake up and learn that a son or daughter is hospitalised and awaiting emergency surgery.
“It is even more horrific when you learn that the events have been intentionally and unnecessarily caused by a complete stranger in an unprovoked attack.
“Unfortunately, our boy will be attempting to enjoy his liquidised Christmas dinner through a straw this year and, for the next six weeks, he will be unable to eat solid food with a knife and fork, as his jaw is forced shut.
“With love and nourishment, he will eventually make a recovery and piece things back together, but with life-changing injuries.
“He may well be disfigured and have permanent nerve damage which will inevitably cause issues with speech and eating.
“There are many unknowns right now, we are clearly concerned about his future, saddened and shattered in the knowledge of how this act has affected our sweet, kind boy.
“We would also like to take the opportunity to express how grateful we all are to the emergency services at Exeter A&E and the specialist surgeons for the care and expertise applied to his situation.”
The second victim sustained bruising to his face.
Detective Constable Michele Green said: “This was an unnecessary and hideous assault against two men who were enjoying their evening out, the week before Christmas.
“As the family have described, this has left them in utter shock.
“I am appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the incident or the offenders and can assist with our enquiries to please get in touch.
“This type of violence cannot and should not be allowed on the streets of Exeter.”
If you witnessed the incident, or have any information or dashcam footage that could help the police with their enquiries, email email@example.com or call 101, quoting CR/110330/21.
Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or via the charity’s website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.