A MAN who was beaten "black and blue" by thugs while out celebrating his 40th birthday said he feels let down by the justice system after being told no charges would be brought.
Gary Walden said he had been out for a meal with friends and then for a drink when he was knocked to the ground in the city centre and kicked and punched repeatedly by a group of five men he later discovered were students at Exeter University.
He required two days of hospital treatment for injuries that included a fractured cheekbone and cuts and bruises across his face.
He claimed he identified the offenders to police at the scene and they were arrested following the incident in Little Castle Street in November last year.
But Gary, who lives in Broadclyst, said he has now been told by police that the Crown Prosecution Service have decided there is not enough evidence to prosecute.
He said: "The police asked me if I could identify who threw what punch and what kick. But it all happened so quickly and I had both eyes shut and was bleeding heavily from the nose. I was trying to cover my face.
"I have just gone into a shell since it happened and am deeply disappointed the justice system does not work. It seems that if you are in a large group and all go out and beat on one person then you can get away with it.
"I really don't understand and cannot get my head around it."
Recalling the incident Mr Walden said: "There were some lads dressed in tuxedos and one of them decided to urinate in front of my girlfriend. They were really abusive to her and shoved my girlfriend to the floor.
"As I went to help my girlfriend from the floor I was punched in the head three or four times.
"I was on the floor and kept getting booted in the face. Both my eyes were shut and I had blood streaming from my face. I had a fractured cheekbone and spent several minutes with them all stood around me with lots of legs kicking me.
"It was horrific. I could not do anything. I felt like their prisoner for the evening.
"My girlfriend had gone off to grab the police and my ordeal was only over when officers arrived. I pointed the men out, they were arrested and I was under the impression that everything would go ahead. I gave a statement and even identified them in a parade."
Mr Walden, who works at a tattoo parlour in Exeter, said that although the physical scars had now healed, the emotional impact of what happened to him remained strong.
He added: "I will probably never go out and celebrate anything in Exeter again. I don't feel safe there.
" I am gutted this has happened and that nothing is being done about it."