Three teenagers have been convicted of a sustained and vicious assault which left a Worthing father with life-changing injuries.
Alan Willson, 47, was found in Longcroft Park by a member of the public around 7.30pm on Easter Sunday (April 4) 2021.
He had suffered catastrophic head injuries and was rushed to hospital, where he stayed for three months before being discharged to continue his recovery and rehabilitation at home.
An investigation was launched and three boys, aged 13, 14 and 17 at the time, were arrested and charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. All three denied the offence.
On Thursday 12 May, after a 14-day trial at Hove Crown Court, two boys aged 14 and 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent by a unanimous jury.
Harry Furlong, 18, from Horsham, was found guilty by a majority jury of grievous bodily harm without intent.
The two boys have been remanded in a youth detention facility and Furlong has been remanded in custody until sentencing on July 1.
hief Inspector Sarah Leadbeatter, district commander for Worthing, added: ““I completely understand the shock and upset this horrific incident has caused, not only for those who know Alan but the wider community as well.
“I would like to reassure communities that we continue to do huge amounts of work in Worthing to try and tackle issues around youth violence and anti-social behaviour. This includes working closely with partners such as children social care, education, youth justice and the local council to support young people and divert them away from crime. Where this isn’t effective, we will be robust and we will take enforcement action, utilising the policing powers available to us, including dispersal orders, increased stop and search and the criminal justice process where it is felt necessary and proportionate to do so.
"It’s important to recognise that the problems we have seen in the local area are linked to a small cohort of young people, but it isn’t something that can be solved overnight, nor by one agency alone. It requires a partnership approach which we are heavily invested in and will continue to be a part of in the future.
“I want people to be safe but also feel safe in Worthing and therefore we will continue to have high visibility patrols in hot spot areas, dedicated policing operations focused on tackling youth violence and my neighbourhood policing teams will continue to engage with local communities to build on community intelligence and provide that reassurance.
“The level of violence and criminality we have seen in this case is completely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated and I need the community’s continued support to help us tackle this disruptive behaviour. If you are a victim of crime, or become aware of a crime happening, please report it to us. Every bit of information we receive helps paint a picture of what is happening in our community and puts us in a better position to respond and take positive action.”