Collier Row parent tells of terrifying claw hammer attack in playground

�A horrified dad thought he was “going to die” after a playground tiff with another parent turned into a terrifying hammer attack.

Paul Dilworth was left with hand injuries after fending off the claw hammer-wielding maniac aiming blows at his head outside Sanders Draper School on Sunday.

The 43-year-old victim has also hit out after claiming Havering Police took more than 24 hours to respond to his 999 call. Tensions escalated after Mr Dilworth, a former retail manager, dropped off his twin daughters to dance lessons at the school, in Suttons Lane, Hornchurch, at around 10am.

He said: “A car drew up behind me; the door opened and hit me on the back of the legs. The lady responsible walked past without an apology, so I sarcastically said ‘excuse me!’. Her partner shouted a torrent of abuse at me, then drove the car into my leg!”


Mr Dilworth, from Collier Row, was left shaken but uninjured.

However, things turned nasty when he retuned to pick up his children at 1pm and the woman’s partner and a friend were lying in wait – this time armed with the foot-long claw hammer.

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“They got out of a van and started walking quickly towards me, and he said ‘do you remember me pal?’” claimed Mr Dilworth

“My head was all over the place I couldn’t believe what was happening. He was like a real-life Phil Mitchell. Then I just thought ‘I’m going to die’.”

The thug cracked Mr Dilworth three times on his left hand as he protected his skull from the onslaught. He was also punched in the jaw.

Mr Dilworth said: “I was in a coma for four days after a serious bike accident - if one of those [blows] had have struck me in the head, I would be dead.”

He tried to enlist the help of a witness, but the pair finally fled after Mr Dilworth began reciting the number plate of the thugs’ van.

He said: “They got spooked and one of them ripped the number plate right off before chucking it in the [van] window.”

Mr Dilworth rang 999 but after waiting an hour and half for police he took himself to Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, where doctors treated his hand for severe swelling, but no fractures.

Detective finally spoke to Mr Dilworth on Monday afternoon - more than a day after the attack.

He said: “The police did apologise but I can’t believe they’re letting lunatics run round Havering hitting people with hammers!”

Mr Dilworth does not think any chilren saw the attack.

A spokesman for Havering Police said: “Police were called to an assault outside Sanders Drapers School on Sunday afternoon which is currently being investigated. If any member of the public is unhappy with the response to an incident then they are free to make an official complaint and an investigation into the matter will be completed.”

There have been no arrests as yet, but police are working on “a number of leads”.