March 9 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
A shop assistant has been left unable to talk or even eat after thieves broke his jaw to steal a few cans of beer from a convenience shop.
Police are appealing to find the two thugs who attacked the man at Londis in Collier Row on New Year’s Day.
Their victim, who did not want to be identified, is recovering at home after surgery to fit a plate in his shattered jaw.
Talking is excruciatingly painful for the 30-year-old, who cannot chew and has to drink through a straw.
His wife said it was a normal morning at work before two men tried to steal some cans of beer at 11.20am.
She added: “My husband followed them outside and told them they had to pay.
“They said he needed to back off or they would beat him up but he thought they weren’t going to do anything – it was the middle of the morning.
“One of them threw the crate on the floor and as he leaned down to pick it up he was hit in the face.
“He doesn’t know what happened after that because it pretty much knocked him out.”
The couple do not know whether a fist, can or crate was used for the blow that shattered his jaw and stunned him, leaving him paralysed as they started beating him.
The attackers only left – with their stolen beer - when another member of staff ran outside.
Police called an ambulance but eventually drove the bloodied shopkeeper to A&E at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, themselves.
The father of two believes his attackers may have killed him if they were not disturbed.
“The doctor said he was lucky to be alive – if they’d punched his head that could have been it,” she added.
“I’ve never seen my husband like this, he’s really strong but now he’s scared. He doesn’t want to go outside.”
He had been working at the convenience store, in Collier Row Road, for four years with no trouble.
Shop owner Amanir Bhogal: “It’s just crazy, especially because it was in broad daylight.
“I have been a retailer here for seven years and we’ve never had anything like this happen.”
Police have released CCTV stills of two men they want to speak to in connection with the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call contact Romford Police Station on 01708 779215 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.