A Polish man has told a jury he thought he was going to drown after he was thrown into the River Exe and pelted with bottles in an allegedly racist attack.
Konrad Raczynski was walking home from a friend’s birthday party on his won when he says he was set on by two men who subjected him to racial abuse as they punched and kicked him.
He said two complete strangers Kruze Howard and Christopher Pinnock threw him into the river and tried to stop him getting out by stamping on his hands and kicking him in the face.
Howard, aged 24, of Okehampton Street, Exeter, and Pinnock, aged 24, of Haven Road, Exeter, deny racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm.
The prosecution have told the jury they were motivated by racism when they set on Mr Raczynski as he passed under the South side of Exe Bridges in the centre of Exeter.
They say the men left him unconscious in the water while they fled to Howard’s home nearby and the victim was rescued by police who tracked the alleged attackers through their wet footprints.
The jury have heard one of the men jumped into the river after Mr Raczynski and also made further racial comments to people sitting nearby.
Howard allegedly told police at the scene:”If someone gets chucked in the river, I’m just going to stand there all day laughing. He punched my mate and he chucked the Polish blokey into the river. I was in stitches’.”
Mr Raczynski said he was on his way home from a birthday party where he had drunk three pints of lager and one of shandy and was a little drunk.
He said he was attacked from behind, kicked to the ground and subjected to racial abuse.
He said:”There were two men kicking me to the head and they rolled me into the river. I was on my own and I was not able to stop it. I was trying to get out but it was cold.
“There were some chains on the side of the bank and they stamped on my hands to stop me getting out. When I did get out they chased me and I ended up in the river for a second time.
“I was trying to get out but they had beer bottles and started throwing them at me while I was in the river. I swam into the middle to avoid being hit and must have lost consciousness at this point.
“I don’t remember but it could have been the result of trying to get out again and one of them kicking me straight in the face. That was the last thing I remember.
“I was exhausted and spent ten minutes in the river then I remember lots of police who pulled me out of the water. My impression was those men were trying to drown me.
“I had bruises and cuts and went to hospital and later I was sick and throwing up and had to go back to hospital the following day. I lost my phone and gold wedding ring in the river.”