Thugs leave moped rider’s kneecap ‘smashed to smithereens’ in daylight attack in Harold Wood

David Babbs with friend Chris Creevy in hospital after the attack

David Babbs with friend Chris Creevy in hospital after the attack - Credit: Archant

A moped rider has recalled the harrowing moments of being smashed off his bike and having his kneecap beaten by hammer-wielding robbers.

The father's knee which was shattered with a hammer

The father's knee which was shattered with a hammer - Credit: Archant

David Babbs, 48, had his kneecap “smashed to smithereens” by thugs following a six-mile chase down the A12 with the gang set on stealing his moped.

Mr Babbs, who was studying to be a taxi driver prior to the daylight attack, was riding his Piaggio Beverly 350cc out of London towards his home in Danbury, Essex when he noticed two other bikes in close pursuit on April 14.

Speaking to the Recorder, Mr Babbs said he is “completely traumatised” by the attack and believes he has slept little more than three hours since the incident.

He said: “The worst thing about it is not being able to sleep, I wake up every 15 minutes with a jump – my body feels absolutely shattered.

“It has affected my whole family; my son is scared for me and it has put lots of stress on my wife.”

The former city trader was followed all the way to Harold Wood by bikers after he decided to turn off the A12 in a bid to lose them.

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He said: “They were riding alongside me from Newbury Park, at first they pulled up and complimented my moped; I didn’t think anything of it.

“But after a while they got too clingy and I started to realise I was in trouble.”

Mr Babbs said two bikes followed him with one carrying a passenger and one on their own.

It was when he eventually reached St Clements Avenue in Harold Wood that the yobs made their move.

“I remember looking back and seeing one of them transfer a hammer from one side to the other.

“One of the bikers ploughed into the back of me but I managed to stay on.

“The last thing I remember is one of them coming up on my outside and then the whole left side of my body giving way as I came off the bike and lay motionless on the ground.”

After being found by men working nearby, Mr Babbs was taken to Queen’s hospital for treatment on a smashed tibial plateau.

He has since undergone surgery to have a metal plate and screws fitted across his knee.

The dad-of-one is now facing up to 8 weeks at home as he recovers from the attack and doctors have told him he will probably limp for the rest of his life.

It’s the second time Mr Babbs has been attacked after having a knife pulled out on him less than a year ago by youths who stole the same make and model moped from him.

He added: “It’s unbelievable how it’s happened to me again, these are not accidents and have been in the middle of the afternoon.

“No one is safe anymore, we are not protected enough these days.”