EXETER mum Alison Pring has told how she raced down a back lane after midnight to be at the side of her battered son as he was carried into an ambulance.
Mrs Pring, 46, of Beacon Lane, Whipton, was just in time to get in the ambulance and hold the hand of her unconscious son Nathan as he was rushed to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.
The 20-year-old had been the victim of a vicious attack by two men just yards from his home, and in front of his terrified sister and aunt.
He is recovering from head and face injuries – but has been told he has to stay in hospital until he can at least remember where he is.
Alison's nightmare started just after midnight on Sunday when she called the nearby Queen's Head pub at Polsloe Bridge (pictured), to ask if Nathan, his sister Amanda, 21 and aunt, Lesley, 49, had left safely.
"The landlady Linda said they had and then she saw lots of blue lights under the bridge. She then told me get round there quick as it looked like Nathan had been in a knocked down by a car.
"I knew it would take me too long to get around Beacon Lane so I ran down the back lane. It was pitch black and terrible but I didn't think about it.
"When I got there they shepherded me into a corner and then let me get on the ambulance.
"He looked in a bad way and there was a lot of blood. When we got to the hospital they were very good – they were excellent."
Nathan was unable to recognise his sister or his brother , Adam – although he knew his mum.
Alison said: "He really can't remember much but he wants to come home. The nurses are telling him to sit tight and stay where he is, at least until he can remember what year it is, who's the Prime Minister and where he is.
"We don't know what the after effects of it all might be at this stage. They have to do more tests.
"It is just wrong that this should happen and the people who did it must not be allowed to get away with it."
Alison said as far as she could find out Nathan had crossed Pinhoe Road and was walking with his sister and aunt to his aunt's home in Hamlin Lane.
She said: "I don't know details but it seems they were approached by two men. Alison seems to have told them to go away and then Nathan told his sister to walk on, which was when he was attacked."
Exeter police are determined to find those responsible and have appealed for witnesses or those who know anything about the attack on Nathan to contact them.
They should call 101 quoting crime number DE/13/9155.