THIS is the bruised and bloodied face of a young Exmouth man whose jaw was broken in an unprovoked attack at a taxi rank.
Matt Harrison, 22, has spoken to the Echo about the night of his attack in the hope that someone may recognise his attacker. Police are urging people who think they may know who either man in the CCTV images to contact them.
The unprovoked assault took place by the taxi rank on the Strand on Saturday, October 12, at around 3.40am.
Matt, a supermarket sales assistant, had been out with friends and was in the Kebab House on the Strand when he said two men made comments to his female friend.
“They started mouthing off to my friend and I let it go at first, but then after a while I told them to leave it,” he said.
“They left without too much fuss and I thought that was the end of it. But when I went across to the taxi rank, I was a few feet away from the taxi when all of a sudden I was punched and fell to the floor.
“The taxi driver said I was unconscious before I hit the pavement.”
Matt said that his friend chased after the man who hit him, who reportedly “walked off as if nothing had happened” as he lay there unconscious on the ground.
Matt was taken by ambulance to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and he was later informed he had suffered a fractured jaw from the blow.
He said: “I was in a lot of pain, I couldn’t open my mouth and could barely open my eye because of the swelling.”
He was forced to take time off work and lost a week’s pay.
“I’ve felt a mixture of emotions,” he said. “I was angry at the fact he had done it the way he had – I was blind-sided. And I was annoyed that I ended up feeling the way I did. Someone who is capable of violence like that is capable of doing it again, and the next person may not be so lucky. Things could have been a lot different for me, he could have killed me. I hope anyone who thinks they may know who it is will come forward so he doesn’t get away with this and to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”
PC Adam Johnson said: “This was a violent and unprovoked attack on a defenceless person – he had his back turned and couldn’t see him coming at him. The one who is responsible for the attack appears to have a distinctive sleeve tattoo on his right arm.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting reference KE13/2432.