Father says police failed to help son

West Street. Credit: Google Maps.
West Street. Credit: Google Maps.

A desperate father is appealing for witnesses after claiming his autistic son was the victim of an unprovoked attack on New Year’s Eve.

The 24-year-old, of Dunstable, had been walking along West Street at around 11.10pm when he and another man were involved in an altercation.

The upset father is now hoping witnesses will come forward, whilst alleging that two Bedfordshire Police officers “did nothing” to help when he approached them on the night.

The father claims: “My son had gone out wearing only his socks and jeans.

“I was at home at the time and I got a call from his neighbour to say that our son had left his house, so my wife and I split up and went out to look for him.

“My wife met some lads who said they had seen our son being beaten up, so she called me and I approached two police officers who were outside Tudor House.

“I asked, ‘can you help me please? My son is autistic, he’s a vulnerable young adult. I’ve just been told that he’s been beaten up.’

“But they said, ‘call the Police’, to which I replied, ‘you are they police!’

“They then said they were on an urgent call and to phone an ambulance, but how could I? I didn’t know where my son was or the extent of his injuries! I jumped in my car and drove off.”

Shortly afterwards, the autistic man’s parents received a call from their son’s neighbour at 11.45pm to say that their son had returned to his home.

His father is now pleading for witnesses to come forward, particularly hoping the teenage boys who helped his wife will speak out.

The wife says she was looking for her son near the town centre when she met half a dozen teenage lads who alleged that her son had been walking along West Street when a man, on the same side of the road, who was leaving town, beat him up.

The lads reportedly witnessed the altercation from the opposite side of the street.

The father claims: “The boys told my wife that the man pulled our son into a headlock and repeatedly punched him but that our son hadn’t done anything to provoke it.

“They said that our son had run off but that the bloke was ‘up there’, pointing down Benning Avenue alley.

“My wife went down the alley to speak to the man at about 11.20pm where it joins Worthington Road and then the lads came to support her.

“She told the man she ‘didn’t want any trouble’ and asked ‘did you hit my son?’

“The man said ‘yeah bring it on’ and told them his address. He said that my son had pushed into him, but my son wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

The son has a broken molar while his glasses had been lost during the altercation.

The father claimed: “I’ve spent my life working hard and paying my taxes, but where were the police when I needed them?

“I really hope the lads will come forward. If their families were, God forbid, involved in an accident, and the witnesses who saw it didn’t come forward, they would be upset, wouldn’t they? If everybody just turns their back on wrong doings then there will be no deterrent for crime.”

A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said: “At approximately 11.20pm on New Year’s Eve, we received a report of an altercation between two men in Dunstable, after which one of the men had left the scene.

“Officers were dispatched to the incident shortly afterwards and arrived shortly before 11.40pm.

“A search began for the man, however he returned home of his own accord in the early hours of that morning.

“An investigation into the altercation was launched and number of lines of inquiry were carried out, including a media appeal and the examination of CCTV footage, however no witnesses came forward.

“One man was voluntarily interviewed in relation to the incident, however officers were unable to establish the circumstances surrounding the altercation and the case has therefore been placed on file pending any new information coming to light. If anyone does have information about the incident we would encourage them to contact us so we can investigate further.’

“Due to the large number of officers on duty on New Year’s Eve, the amount of incidents being dealt with, and in the absence of any further details, we have been unable to identify the other officers that the father of one of the men involved in the altercation spoke to.

“We are therefore unable to comment on this directly, however we can confirm that while our officers are deployed to an incident, depending on the circumstances and severity of the emergency they are attending, it may not be possible for them to deal directly with a report from a member of the public about a different incident.

“Instead the member of the public may be asked to report the information to 101 or the officer may contact the control room to pass the information to them and to ensure that an appropriate and available resource is deployed.”